Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal must offer the right "quality" of new contracts to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Despite both players being out of contract next summer, Wenger believes they want to stay with the Gunners.
Speaking after Arsenal's 2-0 win over local rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Wenger addressed the futures of his star players, per James Benge of the London Evening Standard:
"I'm long enough in the job that I know that (one game) is not enough (to make them sign). The quality of the contract has to be good and enough for them.
"I am convinced they love the club, they love the team. The rest will be decided. When? I don't really know. I alone cannot master that.
"Is it just the quality of the contract? No. It's part of it. The whole thing has to be right.
"They have to be happy. They want to stay but as well other top clubs out there offer good contracts as well."
Ozil and Sanchez were both in top form against Spurs, with the former providing the assist for Arsenal's opener, a free-kick lifted expertly onto the head of centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.
The assist made Ozil the most prolific provider of goals in England's top flight, per BBC Sport: "Since making his Premier League debut in September 2013, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil has provided 45 assists, more than any other player in the competition and 21 more than any other Gunners player in that time."
Meanwhile, Sanchez doubled the Gunners' lead four minutes before the break when he shot into the roof of the net from close range. The versatile forward had collected a smart pass from strike partner Alexandre Lacazette before beating Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at his near post.
Arsenal's star-studded front three tore Spurs apart, and Ozil revealed how much he enjoys playing alongside Sanchez and Lacazette, per the Premier League:
Premier League @premierleague
"Our aim was to give everything. We won the game and we're really happy. I really enjoy playing with Lacazette and Alexis" - @MesutOzil1088 #ARSTOT https://t.co/IEtt8tg21R2017-11-18 14:35:15
This wasn't the first time the Gunners' attacking trio has sparked into life this season. The last time Wenger started Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil together was for the 5-2 away win over Everton in late-October, when all three got on the scoresheet.
Ozil's comfort level working with Sanchez and club-record buy Lacazette, who joined Arsenal in the summer, could help convince him to sign a new deal. As Benge pointed out, the Germany international has so far avoided putting his name to a contract worth £250,000 per week, while Sanchez has been offered £300,000 a week to stick around.
Ozil has been the subject of high-profile transfer rumours recently. Specifically, he was linked with La Liga giants Barcelona after a report the Blaugrana were considering him as an alternative to Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, per Mundo Deportivo (h/t MailOnline's Alex Martin).
However, James Olley of the London Evening Standard revealed Barca have not yet made an approach for 29-year-old playmaker Ozil regarding a transfer during the January window.
Arsenal's Premier League rivals, Manchester United, have also been linked. The Red Devils reportedly want to wait until next summer and secure Ozil on a free transfer, per James Robson of the Manchester Evening News.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have regularly been credited with interest in Sanchez after making a bid on deadline day of the summer transfer window, but manager Pep Guardiola has since downplayed the rumours, per Sky Sports.
Arsenal's inability to win the league title since 2004 may push Ozil and Sanchez out the door despite the pair each winning the FA Cup multiple times since joining the Gunners.
Taken one way, Wenger's words about the "quality of the contract" being good enough could be a subtle reminder to Arsenal's board about the need to spend what's necessary to keep the club's best players.
If the Gunners are going to seriously compete for the title again on his watch, Wenger knows he will need several marquee talents in his squad to make it happen.
Ozil and Sanchez belong in that bracket, so Arsenal must make the level of financial commitment it takes to secure their futures ahead of the competition.