Arsenal have to keep inspirational Alexis - Upson

Alexis Sanchez Arsenal Southampton 10052017
The former Gunners defender has also outlined the type of player he believes his old club should sign in the summer

Former Arsenal defender Matthew Upson would pick Alexis Sanchez to stay at the Emirates Stadium over Mesut Ozil, if given the choice.

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Both players’ contracts expire in the summer of 2018 and discussions over an extension for the duo are on hold until the end of the season.

Alexis and Ozil have been integral performers for Arsenal in recent seasons and Upson would be happy to see both players remain at the club.

However, if the contract impasse leads to Arsenal having to sell one of their attacking stars in the summer, Upson would prefer to see Alexis stay at the club due to the Chilean’s inspirational effect on his team-mates.

“They are both incredible players so it’s a difficult choice and ideally Arsenal would keep both of them. If pushed on only keeping one, I’d personally keep Sanchez,” Upson told Bwin in an exclusive interview.

“I don’t think they can afford to lose someone with his energy and determination on the field. I’m not saying Ozil isn’t committed, but Sanchez displays it on a more regular and intense basis.

“I think the players look at Sanchez and are inspired to play with him because he doesn’t give up. That’s a powerful thing that you can’t lose.”

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Meanwhile, with Arsenal tipped to improve their squad in the summer, Upson has identified the qualities he wants to see in any prospective new signings.

He added: “Instead of one player, it’s a type of player I would like to see them sign. Arsenal don’t necessarily need big names, but they have to display that drive and determination.

“You need a presence, whether that’s in defence or in the centre of midfield, to win the ball back and be dynamic and aggressive.”

Read the full interview with Matthew Upson courtesy of Bwin news as he talks all things Birmingham City, Arsenal, West Ham and newly-promoted Brighton.