Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke remains determined to still keep both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil and is adamant that the club can attract the world’s best players even after falling out of the Champions League.
Sanchez and Ozil have so far refused all offers to extend their contracts but, following their performance alongside Alexandre Lacazette in Sunday’s 5-2 win against Everton, Kroenke still hopes that the club’s attacking spearhead will remain together next year.
“We want to attract top players, keep top players and those guys are top players,” he said. “I watched them on Sunday and they looked really good and played really, really, really well. We’d love to keep them. It takes two to dance; we’ll keep working to keep our top talent and to attract more talent but some of the guys we’ve got are looking pretty good.”
Kroenke pointed out how Arsenal had beaten Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley last season in response to whether the club could still compete with their richest opponents but acknowledged that it “remains to be seen” whether football can enforce rules to equalise spending .
“We beat Manchester City on the home stretch,” he said. “There are rules that try to level it (spending) out. In the United States you have one jurisdiction - over here you have multiple jurisdictions and it’s challenging, but it’s been challenging since we first became involved. Money helps. We’d rather have it than not.
"In the States, you have more limitations. There is one rule saying: ‘This is how much you can spend on players’, you come to that agreement, that’s essentially the law and you can’t get around it. I’ve watched them try but they get penalised on draft picks. In the US they look at you and you can’t say: ‘I’ll be there by next week.’ You have to do it that day. That’s a big difference, you see people come in and do things differently.”
Kroenke, though, has still overseen a vast increase in the club’s wage-bill and believes Arsenal have many other tangible attractions. “We are in a great city, a tremendous club with a great tradition a great manager, and we do spend a lot on players,” he said. “You can always say one club does this, or that but we really do.
“I love the traditions of the club, the great players and I just call it ‘the great club.’ For me, it’s the great London club. It’s in one of the great cities of the world. I feel good about Arsenal’s ability to compete, and compete at the very high level. But I also feel we can get better at it. I really do.”