Before the FA Cup game against Everton today Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, in his press conference, cleared the speculation about the contracts of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, stating that the players would be committing their long term futures with the club soon.
Aaron Ramsey had been one of the keys to Arsenal’s bright start to the season. At the time Ramsey got injured he was leading the table on both successful tackles made and goals scored, a phenomenal record by itself. Santi Cazorla on the other hand has been hugely influential ever since joining the North London club from Spain. At the start of this season although he was looking a little lost but ever since Arsenal suffered injuries to Ramsey and Walcott, Cazorla has stepped up his game and is arguably Arsenal’s best midfielder currently.
“Not yet, but we are very close. Very close. We will announce as soon as we are over the line.” the Arsenal manager said.
With bitter experiences previously, most notably Robin Van Persie in the recent past, with players running down their contract until the last year which effectively held the club for ransom to the player’s demands, it is essential that Arsenal follow through with deals to tie Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey for a long term duration. With Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky already extending their contract earlier this week it is looking increasingly like Arsenal have learnt their lessons from the Robin Van Persie contract fiasco.
Wenger also asserted his displeasure with playing international friendlies in the middle of the season, while admitting that although the international fixtures are tough on the players, clubs have little options but to deal with them.
“It is disruptive, nobody would deny that. Everton are facing the same problem, Bayern Munich are facing the same problem so we just want to deal as well as we can with it.”
“They [big teams] should play them [Euro 2016 qualifiers] in one week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, because as you have noticed in the next European Championship you will have 24 teams at a European tournament. You have 53 teams affiliated to UEFA. That means that one country out of two will qualify. The qualifiers will basically have no meaning for the big countries. The qualification round becomes a little bit less meaningful, not to say useless because all the big countries will be there.”
When asked about releasing players for international duty, Wenger clarified his position stating his admiration and respect to the fact that players want to do well for their countries and be part of a glorious history.
“No, we will release the players. We respect the international rules when it is for qualifiers. The players’ aspiration is to do well for their country and I personally respect that hugely. If you ask me if there is sometimes a conflict of interest between club and country, you know that. That is an old story and nobody have found a solution and many intelligent people have looked at it. Nobody has found a solution that satisfies all ways of both parties,” Arsenal’s French manager added.
Winning the FA Cup is the most realistic proposition for Arsenal at the moment, to end their trophy drought. They fight closely with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League title race while it is next to impossible for the Gunners to win against the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena with a goal difference of at least two, in the Champions League knock out stage.