Arsene Wenger knows Arsenal have to convince Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez they can compete for the biggest trophies in order to persuade them to sign new contracts.
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona players are out of contract at the Emirates Stadium in 2018.
Reports have suggested huge wage demands are complicating negotiations over fresh agreements, but Wenger thinks it is sporting reasons – not financial – which make the difference for top-tier players.
The Frenchman, though, also insisted he fights hard to secure deserving salaries for his players.
“I think these kind of players can raise a little bit above the financial aspect of the game because they are not poor and they have to look really at the football side,” the Arsenal manager told reporters.
“It is more about whether the club can meet their needs on the football front. If ‘yes’ then a Premier League club can find an agreement with the players. We still keep values we have at the club, of course, and we pay what we can afford.
“We still have a scale of wages. It has become a bit more individual than when I arrived 20 years ago because every case is a bit special. But don’t worry, they are all paid well.”
He added: “These days, when you sign a contract for four years, you are actually signing for two because of the simple fact that, just to keep the value of the player, you have to extend the contract two years before it is due to end. Sometimes one year.
“It’s normal players try to get the maximum out of the negotiations because they only have 10 years at the top level if all goes well. If you were a player you would try the same. You try to earn as much as you can.
“My whole life I fight to get the players paid as much as I can. I want as well to be responsible, to pay them the money we can afford to pay. Ideally you do not want players to go into the final year of their deals.
“They have to feel you meet their needs at the club and they get paid for it. So that is why we negotiate before.”
Arsenal face Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Ozil and Sanchez in contention to play.