Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger refused to confirm Alexis Sanchez has been offered a new £300,000-per-week contract but stressed the importance of keeping the wage bill sustainable.
A report in England this week claimed the Chile international, whose current deal expires at the end of next season, had been presented with the chance to increase his earnings at the Emirates Stadium to ward off interest from elsewhere.
Wenger would not say if the rumoured figure was accurate but highlighted the need for a balance of spending across the first-team squad.
“I cannot confirm that we have offered that,” he told a news conference. “We have to consider our financial potential to sustain the wages of the whole squad.
“What is for sure is that what is paid per week today is what 20 years ago was paid per year.
Sanchez is among the nominees for the PFA Player of the Year award, having notched 18 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season.
Wenger believes the 28-year-old’s form in front of goal is partly due to him having played more frequently in a central role, although he claimed Sanchez still prefers to play out wide as it allows him to be more involved in a match.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 14, 2017
“I’m very happy because it rewards a very strong season if you look at the numbers,” he said of his nomination. “I believe a combination of goalscoring and assists is a sign of the quality of the player.
“He played centre-forward for a while and he has short backlift, good quality of reception, good first touch and the focus needed to score. That means he has a kind of aggressive attitude in the box that allows him to score.
“He likes the ball a lot. He’s more attracted by a wide position because he can get more of the ball. He has to keep that balance between providing and goalscoring.”
Former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars has been linked with a return to the club to take up the role of director of football.
The ex-Netherlands international – who holds the same post at Ajax – admitted on Thursday that going back to north London was not out of the question in future.
But when asked about the prospect of Overmars’ return, Wenger replied: “I like Marc Overmars but he’s director of football at Ajax. I’m sure there are plenty of other candidates – I’m not worried about that.
“You spend a lot of time focusing on things that are superficial. In football, it’s about one thing: good players on the football pitch. That’s what you have to take care of.”
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