Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s decision to award new contracts to the core of the first team squad will ensure club stability in the years to come.
When the Spaniard took over four years ago, the Gunners were regularly guilty of allowing star players to enter the final year of their contracts before agreeing new terms. It often led to poor deals being made and constant rumour-mongering in the press that did nothing for morale.
Over the course of the last six transfer windows, everything has been turned on its head. Thanks to diligent and decisive work by Sporting Director Edu, a young and hungry group of players are set to stay at the Emirates for the long term.
Only three players, all over 30, could leave for free in the summer; Cedric Soares, Jorginho and Mo Elneny. Meanwhile, the likes of William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes are contracted until 2027. Those tied down until 2026, including Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, are now being reviewed.
“Yes, that’s what we’ve been doing in the past few years,” said Arteta when asked about the policy in his pre-Wolves press conference.
“Apart from strengthening the squad as well, rewards and having stability in the squad. Those decisions are very important obviously.
On whether this level of organisation helps, he continued: “It does, because those players have deserved the new deals with the performances and the way they’ve behaved.
“It also gives us stability as well – they are at a brilliant age as well and there is still much more to come from them, and that was the initial plan.
“But it’s something that they have earned, it has made the squad much stronger and credit as well to Edu, the board and everybody that planned those sequences as well, to get them at the right time to compete evolving the squad in the right way.”
Clearly, the hope is that a squad that grows together will have success on the pitch in the coming years.
“For sure, without top players, without a top-quality squad in this league and the demands that we have, it’s impossible to do it and that’s what we’re trying to build and evolve, and be better and more precise with what we need to make a big impact with those decisions.”