By Harry Sykes
Chris Sutton has laid into Arsenal chiefs for failing to tie Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil down to new contracts.
The BBC Sport pundit believes the Gunners should take a leaf out of the book of Tottenham, who have embarked on a wave of contract renewals for their first-team stars this season.
Ten senior Spurs players have penned improved long-term deals, with star duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane joined by the likes of Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen in committing to the club.
Arsenal have also secured some of their key men to new contracts, with Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny the most notable, but the club have not yet reached agreements with Sanchez and Ozil.
The team’s star duo are both out of contract in the summer of 2018 and former Chelsea and Celtic striker Sutton explained why Tottenham are so much better run in this key area than their bitter rivals.
“What many of the other top teams have been doing in the past few weeks and months is securing their star players to new, long-term contracts,” Sutton wrote in his BBC Sport column.
“Arsenal have not done that and the situation with forward Sanchez and midfielder Ozil is worrying for them.
“Both players’ futures remain unclear and while some people might just think their contract talks must be complicated, the situation is actually pretty simple: if a player wants to commit to a club, they do it.
“I cannot believe it is about money. Wenger would not be so stupid not to give two such key players what they want, within reason.
“Unless their demands are absolutely astronomical then Arsenal have to make a statement of intent – the same way Spurs did with England duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli earlier in the season.
“It is a few years since many of Arsenal’s best players were allowed to leave the club, but they have to tie down Sanchez and Ozil otherwise they have enormous problems.
“Unless both players sign up, Arsenal will be perceived as lacking ambition as well as being serial underachievers in terms of mounting a title challenge.”
Arsenal make the short journey to Chelsea at lunchtime on Saturday aiming to keep the title race alive and narrow the nine-point gap secured by Antonio Conte’s side.
By contrast, Tottenham host Middlesbrough at White Hart Lane in the evening kick-off
In other Tottenham news, a striker has signed after Spurs agreed terms.