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Does Arsene Wenger or Gunners' prior history paint Arsenal's future?

Thursday 30th March 2017
Arsene Wenger has stated he believes Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will stay at Arsenal. The past would indicate otherwise. So which one correctly depicts the future?
Arsenal are experiencing one of their worst runs since Arsene Wenger was hailed as manager in 1996. In their last nine games in all competitions, they have won just three: a home Premier League win against Hull City, a side that, at the time, languished in 18th, and consecutive victories against non-league opposition in the FA Cup; the first over Sutton United and then in the subsequent round at home to Lincoln City.

They have won just one Premier League game in their last five, the aforementioned 2-0 victory over Hull, losing to Watford, Chelsea, Liverpool, and now most recently, West Brom. Add to this the two 5-1 hammerings at the hands of Bayern Munich, succumbing them to the second worst aggregate loss in Champions League knockout history, and it is easy to see why such unrest and division has engulfed the club.

The two men, in particular, to be at the heart of the uncertainty are Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. They are Arsenal's best and most influential players, capable of truly remarkable moments of skill. However, both have delayed contract talks on numerous occasions and now enter the summer transfer window with negotiations on hold and just one more year remaining on their respective deals.

As such, questions abound regarding their respective futures.

Thankfully, Wenger has an answer. Speaking ahead of Manchester City's crucial trip to North London on Sunday, Wenger revealed that he expects both Ozil and Sanchez to stay:

"I personally believe both of them want to stay and I hope the club will find an agreement with them."

However, if you're thinking we've been here before, you would indeed be right. In fact, in two consecutive summers, Arsenal ended the year with numbers of their star players' futures far from clear.

In 2011, it was Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. The two had enjoyed stellar seasons, showcasing their quality in a number of breathtaking displays. Entering the 2011 summer, Nasri had just a year remaining, like Ozil and Sanchez now, while Fabregas was engulfed in a tug of war between his then current club and his boyhood club, Barcelona. On July 11th of that summer, Wenger declared he expected both Nasri and Fabregas to be with the club the next season. Neither were.

Just one year later, and Arsenal were in exactly the same situation once more, this time with Robin Van Persie. The Dutchman truly was flying the previous year, having topped the Premier League goalscoring charts with 30 goals; 37 in all competitions. However, he too had just one year to run on his contract and there were many questions surrounding his future. On June 20th of that summer, Wenger stated he expected Van Persie to be with the club the next season. He wasn't.

Wenger's prediction that Ozil and Sanchez may stay is undoubtedly a bold one. There is a growing anticipation that at least one, if not both, will leave the club in the summer. While Wenger may profess otherwise, history does not lie. Which one pertains to the future, however, only time will tell.
Andrew Dowdeswell

A sport obsessed 20 something who just really wants Arsenal to finally win the league. Please Wenger, what the hell happened to you?!


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