Mesut Ozil a ‘huge problem’ in Arsenal’s contract renewal talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil
The German is Arsenal’s highest earner despite his dwindling role in the side (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes Mesut Ozil’s astronomical wages have created a ‘huge problem’ at the club and are complicating contract renewal talks with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabon striker, who is Arsenal’s top scorer, is out of contract next year when he would be free to leave the Emirates for nothing, with Gunners chiefs ready to cash in this summer to avoid missing out on a windfall.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is still keen to convince skipper Aubameyang to stay, though Merson believes the wages of Ozil – the club’s highest earner – have skewed the negotiating landscape.

Speaking to Sky Sports about Aubameyang’s potential exit, Merson explained: ‘It would be a major disaster for Arsenal if they lost Aubameyang, however, the decision will be weighed up and at least it will be the club’s decision as to what they do.

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‘Do they give him £300,000-a-week? I’ve always said they will have a problem until Mesut Ozil leaves the club.

‘Every day he’s there, every other top player will want what he’s on. It’s a huge problem and not a new one.

‘If they want to keep Aubameyang they will have to pay him big money, but Arsenal may look at it and think if we give him £300,000-a-week for the next two or three years, is he going to be the same player?

‘He’s nearly 31 and by the time he’s 34 he’s not going to be the same player. I don’t care who you are, at 34 you are not the same player.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Only Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has scored more goals than Aubameyang this season (EPA)

‘Arsenal may also weigh it up asking if they will win the Premier League or get into the top four in the next few years if they pay Aubameyang £300,000-a-week. They haven’t actually done it yet with him there, so they may look at it and say it is good business to let him go.

‘There’s also the danger of giving him big money, just like they did with Ozil, and then every other player wanting the same. It would take you straight back to the Ozil scenario and if you do spend all that money on him and you don’t get into the top four it’s not money well spent.’

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