Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday he is unlikely to change his stance on player contract renewals but noted the club is hoping to make progress on extensions for Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck.
As Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror reported, both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are set to leave the Emirates Stadium when their deals expire at the end of the campaign, with no progress made over new terms. Ramsey and Welbeck are said to be in similar situations in regard to the summer of 2019.
However, Wenger believes there is not much that can be done about players running down their deals, per Lewis.
"With the amount of transfer levels and the expected amount of contracts the players want, you will have more and more players going into the final year of their contract," the Arsenal boss said. "You will be in a position where you either extend for money you cannot afford or you will go into the final year."
Wenger stated there were "107 players in the Premier League who got into the final year of their contract" this season. Per David Hytner of the Guardian, the Frenchman revealed "we want to address" new deals for Welbeck and Ramsey.
In the case of latter, according to Lewis, he is "still very much part of Wenger's first-team plans" at the Emirates Stadium. He's picking up £100,000 per week, while Welbeck, who recently suffered another injury setback, is taking home £70,000 per week.
Arsenal's stance on keeping players tied up is curious. After all, their two most important attackers, Sanchez and Ozil, are free to discuss terms with non-Premier League clubs from January onward.
Losing someone like Ramsey in similar style would be a massive blow for the Gunners. Though he's not the most flamboyant name in the squad, he's still a vital member of the team, as his Sky Sports Statto-highlighted display in the recent 0-0 draw with Chelsea proved:
The Welshman is arguably Arsenal's most multifaceted midfielder. Ramsey is adept in a more orthodox role in the middle of the park, but he's also capable of pushing forward in support of a centre-forward and even playing out wide when needed.
In addition, he's also proved himself to be a man for the big occasion for Arsenal, as his winning goals in FA Cup finals illustrate.
Welbeck is a different case, and it will be intriguing to see how much the Gunners push to keep him at the club.
Wenger is evidently a fan of the England international because of his application, versatility and dynamism. But the forward is regularly let down by a couple of key issues: his finishing and, most significantly, his fitness. As Lewis noted, he's expected to be out until mid-October with a groin problem.
Per B/R's James McNicholas, before this latest injury, the striker was cementing a place in the starting XI:
Only time will tell whether Wenger is on the pulse in regard to players' contracts, though there's no denying Arsenal will look foolish if a succession of vital men walk away from the club as free agents.
Ramsey and Welbeck may not be as important as Sanchez and Ozil, but if the latter duo were to depart, their significance would be heightened. With that in mind, there will surely be an urgency on Arsenal's part to get the former twosome tied down.