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Arsenal will reportedly focus their attention on extending Alexis Sanchez’s stay in north London after handing manager Arsene Wenger a new deal in March. Meanwhile, Marseille have had a bid rejected for Gunners target Dimitri Payet.
According to Steve Stammers of the Mirror, Arsenal will reward Wenger with a new two-year contract, which it’s said they will announce around March 22, during the international break.
Only then will the north Londoners turn back to the matter of Sanchez’s contract, with the Chilean having entered the final 18 months of his current deal amid fears his wage demands could force a move from the club.
Sanchez scored in Saturday’s 4-0 rout of Swansea City. But the Telegraph posted an image of the forward’s upset figure after being withdrawn before he was ready to come off, intensifying rumours he isn’t happy at his current club:
4-0 win not enough to prevent another Alexis Sanchez strop, as Arsenal forward’s future remains in doubt#AFC https://t.co/0R0xKI9pld pic.twitter.com/pPbYw3a7L2
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 15, 2017
Mesut Ozil is also yet to sign a new deal with Arsenal, but Stammers said it’s believed he’ll renew his terms after Wenger, meaning Sanchez will be the only remaining loose end among the club’s highest earners:
While Sanchez may have looked downtrodden at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, Wenger spoke to the media in the aftermath and addressed it as a “really minor, minor” concern:
Looking at the game tonight, that is really minor, minor, minor. All players are frustrated when they come off – some show it, some don’t. I am long enough in the job to know that.
He’s a good guy who gives a lot and wants to do well, always, for the team. There is no problem.
But every culture is different. Some South Americans are a bit different to Europeans, Southern Europeans are different to northern Europeans. You have to respect that. That’s why we are a multi-national team.
Meanwhile, reported Arsenal target and wantaway West Ham United star Payet has been subject of an opening winter offer from former club Marseille. Although, the Hammers have rejected the approach out of hand.
ESPN FC’s Jonathan Johnson cited a report from French programme Telefoot, which said Marseille offered €22 million (£19.2 million) to re-sign the star they sold to the Hammers for £10.7 million in the summer of 2015:
West Ham have reportedly rejected an offer of €22m for Dimitri Payet from Marseille. 2 clubs due to meet again this week. #OM #COYI https://t.co/xHUfCstW97
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) January 15, 2017
The news comes days after West Ham manager Slaven Bilic confessed Payet “does not want to play” for the east London outfit anymore, per BBC Sport, fuelling rumours of a potential January move elsewhere.
Arsenal may not challenge Marseille for the winger’s signature in any case, however, after Wenger recent rumours and suggested Arsenal won’t be moving for the player, per Metro‘s Sean Kearns:
The vibes you get from the outside are not very positive I must say.
I don’t know what’s really behind [the scenes] I just hope that West Ham and Payet can sort this out.
It looks very complicated. The boy is not known for this mentality. What is happening to him now only West Ham can explain that.
The transformation of any Payet-themed chanting at the London Stadium also appears to suggest the fans would rather see the back of their wantaway star than hold onto a player who would rather go elsewhere:
West Ham fans changed their tune *slightly* with the Dimitri Payet song at London Stadium… 👀 pic.twitter.com/8RNLvN18EL
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) January 15, 2017
Arsenal have frequently been linked as one of the clubs interested in Payet since his performances throughout 2015-16 earned him a spot in that season’s Professional Footballers’ Association Premier League Team of the Year.
Payet’s refusal to train or play for West Ham is likely to see his transfer saga evolve as the January transfer window progresses, although the Gunners may struggle to cut a deal with their London rivals.