Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil says he wants to know whether Arsene Wenger is staying on as manager before deciding whether to sign a contract extension.
Ozil told German magazine kicker on Sunday that he is happy at Arsenal and willing to commit his future to the Gunners, but wants “clarity” over Wenger’s future first.
Wenger’s contract expires this summer, while Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both have 18 months left on their deals but have yet to agree to extensions. Wenger has been adamant he will not make a decision about his own future until the end of the season.
“I feel very, very happy at Arsenal and have let the club know I would be willing to extend. The fans want me to stay, and now it’s only down to the club,” Ozil told kicker. The club knows I am here mainly because of Arsene Wenger, who brought me here and whose trust I have. The club also knows that I want clarity about what the manager is doing.”
Ozil and Sanchez are both reportedly holding out for deals worth in excess of £200,000 a week, which led former Arsenal great turned Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry to question whether they are holding the club “hostage” with their demands.
But Ozil denied that the talks are only about money.
“Everyone has a right to say what they want, but what they have to say doesn’t interest me. Ex-players or other people who have a view don’t know what is actually being said between me and the club,” he said.
Wenger has previously rejected the notion that his own future could affect the club’s contract talks with the star duo, but former Arsenal defender Martin Keown also questioned that on Friday.
“Right now, Sanchez and Ozil might be keeping an eye on Wenger’s contract, which expires at the end of the season, and stalling over their new deals because of this,” Keown wrote in his weekly column for the Daily Mail.