Former Gunner has hit out at the pair who are yet to sign new deals at the Emirates
MARTIN KEOWN has hammered pampered Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil — accusing them of being part of deep-rooted problems at Arsenal.
The Gunners failed to make the Champions League for the first time in 20 years after finishing fifth in the Prem.
And club legend Keown claims Arsenal has become a breeding ground for mediocrity with too many prima donnas.
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The 50-year-old said: “It became about Ozil and Sanchez for too long in the season.
“Their behaviour let Arsenal down in that period.
“Ozil wasn’t available for large periods. Was he injured, wasn’t he? Was it sickness, was it injury?
“He didn’t seem to be around when they needed him most.
“It’s not fair on some of the other players. I’ve been a bit surprised how the group have been a
bit nice with them. That’s what really has to be considered: how is that affecting other players?
“If I was playing in some of the games when Ozil doesn’t get a perfect pass, I would have been in his ear telling him my bit.
“I’d have said, ‘I’m trying to give the ball to you, don’t disrespect me in the way you do when I don’t get the ball to you.
“And how about you working just as hard out of possession as I’m working out of possession?’
“ ‘I can’t ever get close to the creativity you can create but I want you to work hard when we are not in possession — because we’re not quite good enough to win things without every single player applying himself in possession and out of possession.’
“I’m surprised he’s got away with some of that with the players.”
Former England defender Keown, who played 449 times for Arsenal and was part of the Invincibles squad, also blasted the Gunners’ Chilean ace, adding: “Sanchez is a difficult man to manage off the pitch.
“I was at the training ground on one of his days off and he suddenly turned up and was bouncing around the training pitch.
“They were having to facilitate him and put a training session on for him. It’s not necessarily about you as a player — you have to fit in as well with the group.”
A lack of viable contenders willing to meet Ozil’s £300,000-a-week demands has increased belief the Germany star will end the uncertainty over his future by signing a new Emirates contract.
The only interest so far has come from Turkish club Fenerbahce, who cannot pay him anything like the money he is seeking.
It means Ozil is expected to accept a compromise deal of around £270,000 a week.
Arsenal are under pressure like never before in the boardroom, although owner Stan Kroenke finally broke cover to insist he would not consider selling out to hostile minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov.
Arsenal can salvage something with victory in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea but Keown, speaking on behalf of BT Sport, said: “When you’re saying that fourth is OK — and it certainly wasn’t in my era — that’s almost like a consolation prize and it’s been wheeled out as a form of success.
“Only Real Madrid have made it into the Champions League in 20 successive seasons alongside Arsenal, so it has been a level of achievement. But does it really breed winners?”
Watch Arsenal v Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup final live on BT Sport 2 from 4.30pm on Saturday. BT Sport is your home of unmissable football from the Emirates FA Cup and Premier League. For more info visit btsport.com