Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham has admitted that the club cannot afford to run the risk of losing star players on free contracts in the future.
The Gunners will officially say goodbye to Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey on July 1 when his deal expires, while Alexis Sanchez was offloaded to Manchester United in January 2018 with less than six months to run on his contract.
Venkatesham concedes that a change of approach is needed to avoid others leaving for nothing, which could be considered an ultimatum to the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil – two players about to enter the final two years of their existing terms.
“We need to be really disciplined when we are dealing with senior players who are not towards the end of their careers,” he told Arsenal’s official website.
“So that means we have to start making the difficult decisions when they have two years left on the contracts. We’re either going to renew those contracts or we’re going to be selling them.
“We’re going to have to be brave in those decisions because we can’t be in a situation where we’re allowing players to walk out of the door for free unless they are coming towards the end of their careers.”
Ozil and Aubameyang are rumoured to be Arsenal’s highest-earning players on £350,000 and £200,000 a week respectively.