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Wenger: Alexis, Ozil not the first big players to leave Arsenal

Arsenal v Stoke City - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal (L) embraces Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (R) after he is subbed during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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Arsene Wenger appears resigned — and ready to spin — the fact that, with each passing day, Arsenal look likelier and likelier to lose Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, for nothing, this summer.

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Of course, should Arsenal decide that recouping a bit of money is a wise strategy only six months too late, either player could be sold at a bargain price during the now-open January transfer window. More likely, though, is the troublesome, arduous process of playing out the final few months of their current contracts before leaving on free transfers after June 30.

Wenger has been asked about the superstar duo, which could have fetched as much as $200 million at any point during the last 18 months, all season. He has been laying the groundwork — the pre-spin, if you will — for months. Now, with Sanchez and Ozil officially able to negotiate a pre-arranged contract with other clubs, Wenger wants you to believe it’s perfectly normal, and not at all alarming, for a pair of top-20-in-the-world attacking talents to leave the same club in the same summer… once again, for free — quotes from the Telegraph:

“We have not lost them yet and secondly we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality. My focus is on tomorrow’s game. After that, this club has lost many, many big players and has always responded well. Massive players have left this club and the club will always be in a strong position. You want to keep your best players.”

Indeed, they wouldn’t even be the first Gunners stars this decade to leave the club after running their contracts into the final 12 months. With just one year remaining on his contract, Robin van Persie left Arsenal in the summer of 2012 for just $32 million; he joined Manchester United, scored 26 goals that season and won his first PL title… finally. All he had to do was leave Arsenal for immediate dividends.

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At this point, it seems a foregone conclusion Sanchez will finally join Man City this summer and, barring a seismic shift of PL power, Arsenal fans will be watching their former hero win the title immediately after leaving, while they continue shuffling between fourth and sixth.

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