Arsenal have been busy over the past 20 months. The team that scraped a draw at Brighton included seven players signed by Mikel Arteta and four whom have all penned new contracts during his tenure.
The entire starting lineup has the manager’s stamp on it.
Moving forward this is what the ‘new Arsenal’ will look like. Bursting full of young talent with only two players in that side over 25 years old, what is being built at the club is laid out before our very eyes.
That coupled with some magnificent academy prospects working their way up through Hale End is plenty reason to be excited. Fans want to see this trend continue.
Arsenal must follow Manchester City & Phil Foden by offering Bukayo Saka a new long-term contract to protect the club’s future and his value
New blood will enter the fray at centre-forward as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes into his twilight years, and there is also room for further experience in central midfield once any combination of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny or Ainsley Maitland-Niles bid farewell.
There are also some who must stay. Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney were crucial cogs in the rebuilding process as they were both tied down long-term, and while Bukayo Saka put pen to paper on a new deal just over 15 months ago, the time for another renewal draws near.
Manchester City are doing the same with Phil Foden. The exceptional Englishman is closing in on a new long-term contract with hid boyhood club as Pep Guardiola’s side aim to fend off unavoidable attracted gazes.
The 21-year-old, like Saka, has a contract expiring in 2024 and the Telegraph report that a new six-year extension is imminent for the midfielder.
Arsenal must not rest on their laurels. A similar level of reward has to be in the offing for Saka who earns roughly £30k-per-week at present.
Of course, City boast regular title challenges and Champions League football. Arsenal do not. Encouraging their young players to commit is a distinctly easier operation even if Saka was earning starts for England in major tournaments over his countryman.
Should Arsenal continue in the vein they are with continental competitions a distant dream and top six challenges all they can hope for, then there will be no more Saka at the club. He is better than that. He deserves more.
And in such a nightmare situation the club needs to be assured they can recoup as much money as feasibly possible for the Star Boy. Beyond that, not having the 20-year-old makes those aspirations even less achievable. Much of Arsenal’s future hinges on someone like Saka, whether that be having him in the squad to compete for honours once again or using whatever finance accrued from his sale when the European giants eventually come calling to reinvest in the squad.
You’d like to think work is already underway. Saka may love Arsenal Football Club with all his heart but special talent like him can’t go on feeding off mid-table scraps. He needs to dine at the big table to truly fulfill his potential.
Just like Foden at Man City, a big new deal needs drawing up.
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