Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger Insists Arsenal must do all they can to keep Arsenal’s British core at the club, with a number of English first team stars futures hanging in the balance.
The Gunners have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshereclosing in on their final year of their current contracts this summer as are Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs who have all struggled to hold down a regular starting spot in the Arsenal lineup.
Arsenal are currently sitting sixth ahead of their Monday night fixture away to Crystal Palace, a win will see them jump up to fifth in the race for a Champions League place next season. The Gunners are fourth favourites for a top four finish at 3.80 according to NetBet,
one quick look at the fixtures list means Wenger will have a tough job of making the top four which will make their task even more difficult of retaining their top players.
The most talked about potential departure of the British contingent has been ‘The Ox’ who has shown real promise this season when given the chance to play in central midfield. The Arsenal boss feels it will be “a big damage” to the club should the 23-year-old leave north London after the huge investment in the former
Southampton Academy graduate.
“We have to keep them all,” Wenger said in his pre-match press conference. “We still have a group of young English players.
We have Ramsey, we have Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs. All these players, we have to make decisions and manage to keep them together.”
“I personally think it’s vital that Oxlade-Chamberlain stays at Arsenal. We have bought him when he was very young, and we have built him up.I like his mentality, and he has a good football brain. I think it would be a big damage for us to lose this kind of player.”
“Sometimes on the flank he’s out of the game. In the middle he’s more focused. He needs to be involved in the game. He can lose balls, but defensively he’s strong in the challenge. When he wants to switch on, he has that kind of robustness to deal with body to body. And that’s very important in the Premier League.”
While Arsenal need to keep hold of the British core, Wenger warned the club will not be able to match everybody’s wage demands especially with negotiations with superstars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil still to come this summer.
“That’s our problem. In a very inflationary market, we have to consider the situation as a whole. So that means we have to dedicate the money for everybody,” he said.
“I think we always had that attitude, I think we have shown that in the past,” he said. “We have sold players in the past when we didn’t find agreements, just because we needed to respect our balance.”
Arsenal face a vital transfer window come June with a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the club. Arsene Wenger’s future is one of the most talked about subjects, however with a host of first team stars closing in on their final year of their deals, it could be the Gunners busiest summer for quite some time.