The biggest game of the Premier League this week takes place Monday in Liverpool, but there were no shortage of storylines coming out of the weekend action: Manchester City’s draw with Everton was its third straight game without a win, Bournemouth’s 6-1 evisceration of Hull further evidence of why coach Eddie Howe is so highly-rated and Southampton continues to be upwardly mobile and could yet compete for a top-four spot.
The weekend’s real winner was Arsenal, which saw City and Tottenham drop points and beat Swansea 3-2 to sit tied atop the table. Once again it was a masterclass from Mesut Ozil, who volleyed home what turned out to be the winning goal. The German has continued where he left off last season, but with just over 18 months to run on his contract, talks have reportedly stalled on a new deal.
“I don’t think he needs convincing. He wants to stay here. But if you have a good bank, call me,” Arsene Wenger was reported as saying by The Mirror after the game. “It’s not just money. Arsenal can win titles of course. But that’s what we have to show. We are in a league where Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea everybody fights and you cannot guarantee that to anybody. We keep that (negotiations) discreet. At due time we will come out with that. We want to keep our best players, of course. But the more I say that, the more he is in a stronger position!”
Arsenal has been here before, of course. The likes of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Bacary Sagna all left after Arsenal failed to tie them down with new deals. But for once the team should copy its north London rival, Spurs. The biggest summer signings at White Hart Lane were the contract renewals of Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen and Kyle Walker. It is a side building for the future.
The cost of losing the 28-year-old Ozil would be more to Arsenal than the salary–which is said to be £200,000 per week–that he is demanding to stay. And if we were to fast-forward to the end of the season, when Wenger himself may leave, then the prospect of losing Ozil at the same time would be a tough one to take.