After news broke last night that Bukayo Saka has agreed to a new contract at Arsenal, it was obvious Mikel Arteta would be quizzed on the status of negotiations.
With nothing confirmed by the club, he did what he always does and played a straight bat, avoiding specifics and talking more generally about the desire to keep the club’s best players.
It’s said that Saka will earn upwards of £200,000 a week and that his new deal will run until 2028; a serious commitment from the club who have also tied down Gabriel Martinelli to a new long-term contract and want William Saliba to do the same.
“No news on that,” was Arteta’s curt response when asked to confirm if a deal with Saka had been struck.
“When it’s done I can tell you more, but obviously we have the intention to extend the contracts of our players. When it’s done, it’s great news for the club.”
He also added: “We want to keep our best players, the players that we are developing and create a long-term project here and obviously we want our best players to be committed to the club.”
“It’s our responsibility to keep our best players, our best people and the people that basically have the same aims and purposes with the club. To stick them together for a while to give some stability and from there keep evolving and become a better club.
“It’s part of developing a team, developing a squad and as well taking the club where we want. It’s maximising the resources we have, and we have huge resources because we have a lot of talent and we have to keep that talent, keep improving it and making it better.”
“No news,” he said when pressed for an update on Saliba, whose current deal ends in 2024. “Not yet,” he replied when Xhaka’s name was tossed at him; the Switzerland international is tipped to sign another extension.
If it all goes tits up at Arsenal, Arteta could probably open the batting for the England cricket team.
The Spaniard was more expansive about Mohamed Elneny’s new deal. It was confirmed this week that the Egypt international will stay at Emirates Stadium for another year, albeit on reduced terms, despite being sidelined with a long-term injury.
It’s the second new deal signed by Elneny since Arteta joined as manager three years ago and he’s clearly delighted.
“It’s totally deserved. It’s an absolute joy to have him at the club. I think what the club has done is absolutely brilliant, it’s not just with words that we say we value the people that we have and we stick together in difficult moments.
“Mo had a really difficult moment a few weeks ago when he had a pretty big injury, a serious injury and the club committed with him for what he gives to the team, for what he’s done for this football club.
“I think it’s a really strong message by everybody at the club to try to keep our best people and our best players with us in challenging moments.”