(Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down the link between his own future at Arsenal and that of Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Wenger, who is out of contract at the end of the season, said Ozil was “misinterpreted” in an interview in Germany this week, in which the playmaker said he would wait to see if his manager was staying on before committing to the club.
Ozil and Chile striker Alexis Sanchez are in the final 18 months of their contracts at Arsenal and both players have been in prolonged negotiations over an extension.
“I think he (Ozil) has been a bit misinterpreted,” Wenger told a news conference on Friday when asked about the player’s comments to German football magazine Kicker.
”He would like to know what happens on the managerial front of course, but I don’t think that is the main part of his decision. It is part of it, but it’s not the only thing.
“There are many other ingredients in any negotiation and hopefully we will find a conclusion very quickly with him. We always speak, I speak more with his agent on the contract than with him.”
Arsenal extended the contracts of French trio Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin on Thursday, and Wenger said he was not ready to push the panic button over Ozil and Sanchez just yet.
“It is important that we have stability in our squad and they are part of that. We are in the process with others,” he said.
“Let’s not forget all these players have 18 months to go, that is a long time in football. I‘m very relaxed.”
Ozil, Sanchez, goalkeeper Petr Cech and Koscielny will all return for Saturday’s trip to relegation-threatened Swansea City, but Theo Walcott, who has not played since the loss at Manchester City on Dec. 18, will be out for at least another two weeks, Wenger said.
Arsenal are fifth in the table with 41 points, eight behind leaders Chelsea after 20 games.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis