Exclusive: Arsenal crisis deepens with Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain ready to follow Sanchez out of the Emirates

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger may have an exodus on his hands Credit: REUTERS

The crisis enveloping Arsenal is set to deepen with Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ready to follow Alexis Sanchez out of the exit door this summer.

Telegraph Sport understands that Ozil has not responded to Arsenal’s latest contract offer, over £200,000 a week, with friends in Germany claiming he wants to quit the Emirates.

The 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League has increased calls for Arsene Wenger to go when his contract expires at the end of the season, but the future of the club’s manager is not the only problem facing owner Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

Arsenal had been more hopeful of convincing Ozil to sign a new deal than Sanchez, but it is believed that Wenger is coming round to the idea that both men may need to be sold if he remains as manager past this season.

Even though Sanchez and Ozil will only have one year remaining on their contracts at the end of this season, Wenger has always insisted that it will be Arsenal’s decision whether or not they start the next campaign at the club.

Any realistic hope of keeping Sanchez appeared to evaporate when the Chile international walked off the training pitch and was involved in a heated argument with Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey before being dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the Liverpool defeat.

Alexis Sanchez (right) is unlikely to stay at Arsenal Credit: REX FEATURES

And it seems Wenger and Arsenal are now losing hope over Ozil, who has been heavily criticised for his performances and work-rate this season, as well.

Ozil missed the defeat to Liverpool through illness and was drafted in as a late substitute for the 5-1 thrashing by Bayern at the Emirates after the withdrawals of Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. But there have been suggestions around Arsenal that the absence of Ozil of late has not solely been down to illness or injury.

Another Arsenal player with only 12 months remaining on his contract at the end of this season is Oxlade-Chamberlain, who earned praise for his performance on Tuesday night. Having become disillusioned with his contract situation and playing status, Oxlade-Chamberlain looks certain to quit the club in an attempt to reignite his career.

Sources close to the 23-year-old have suggested he needs a fresh challenge with Arsenal yet to offer him a new deal. It now appears that there is little chance that Oxlade-Chamberlain will sign a new contract even if one is offered to him because the club have left it so late and he craves more regular first-team football.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is concerned that his career has not kicked on at Arsenal, where there have been limited opportunities, and is desperate to play more regularly and regain his place in the England squad.

There will be no shortage of clubs interested in signing Oxlade-Chamberlain, including Liverpool, and it seems highly unlikely that Arsenal will allow him to go into the final year of his contract without selling him.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to leave Arsenal Credit: REX FEATURES

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been unfortunate in often being one of the young players who makes way and is frequently substituted by Wenger. He rarely completes 90 minutes and rarely plays in the same position.

There was also bemusement when Wenger claimed in December that talks were underway with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s representatives over a new deal. No deal has been offered.

Doubts remain over the future of Jack Wilshere, whose contract expires in 2018 and who is on loan at Bournemouth, while David Ospina is looking for a new club and Petr Cech was frustrated at being left on the substitutes’ bench in the Champions League.

Wenger has another big decision to make over his goalkeepers ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Lincoln City, as Ospina has played in all of the FA Cup games to date but Cech moved to Arsenal to win trophies and the competition represents their last chance of silverware.

Despite doubts over the future of individuals and tension in the squad, Theo Walcott has called on the infighting between Arsenal players to stop and for his team-mates to channel their aggression into helping to ease the pressure on Wenger.

Asked about the training ground incident involving Sanchez, Walcott said: “There are certain things that happen at training grounds. I’m sure it happens at every other training ground, most of the time, really.

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“You don’t see it often at Arsenal. Things have happened. They need to stay in the dressing room and the players and staff need to sort it out. We are in it together here. We can’t be fighting each other.

“I don’t really want to go into it, but the stuff that has gone on did not affect our first half (against Bayern Munich).”

On Wenger, Walcott added: “The players are like everybody else — we don’t really know what’s going on. We just want to try to focus on the football.

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“The manager is focused on us. You can see how passionate he is with us from the way he talks to us in the meetings.

“He will take this on himself but us players need to look at ourselves. The manager has been taking a lot of flak in recent weeks and us players have been accepting it, but we can’t.

“We need to take the pressure off the manager and that will happen by performances. Who knows what the manager will do? Players just want to play football for this club and do well for the manager.”

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