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Arsenal stars skip out on first team engagement

Rumours of annoyance float as Özil and Alexis are no-shows at corporate events

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Sports is about money. Along side the games and goals comes big business that wants to be associated with it, leading to massive sponsorship deals that help fund clubs and players. Worked into these deals is events and promotions with corporate sponsors that require first team involvement. So when one of these events is held without Arsenal’s two biggest names, questions being to surface.

On September 21st, a sponsorship/corporate engagement was held at the London Colney training grounds that required First Team participation. They even dragged out wantaway/never play Mathieu Debuchy, who hasn’t started for the team since 2015. Danny Welbeck was there with his injured groin. Who wasn’t there? Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez.

The club explained the absence away as sickness but Alexis had just completed 90 minutes vs Doncaster the day before and no previous excuses had been made by Arsene Wenger in press conferences aside from a fitness concern for Özil, which kept him out of the match. The facts don’t add up.

Last season, there were rumours of grumbling over the two stars commitment to the team amid Arsenal’s disastrous stretch of form in the early winter period. With both up for a new contract at the end of the season and seemingly no movement on negotiations, their absence increases these whispers. With Özil turning down a pay raise and Alexis having his £60 million move to Man City collapse on deadline day, there may even be truth to them.

But not likely. Both are under contract at Arsenal and failure to show complete dedication to the team won’t reflect well on either’s attempt at signing massive deals with Arsenal or another club. The constant swirl of speculation that both are set to move on and aren’t committed doesn’t jive with their want to join the elite earners in the footballing world. Football is about money; if they want teams to spend on them, they have to show worth.

It could be both needed immediate recovery time or had personal issues or even that the club was tossing them a bone to avoid a tedious engagement when neither were 100%. Whether or not this is causing internal issues is for Arsenal to deal with. But both are obligated to work for their club so had Arsenal wanted them there, they’d have been there.