Arsenal are keen to seal new contracts for Bukayo Saka and William Saliba before both players go on holiday this summer, 90min understands.
The talented young duo have been in outstanding form for the Gunners all season long, helping to propel the club to an eight-point lead over defending champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Saka has not only established himself as one of Mikel Arteta’s most important players, but also as one of European football’s brightest young prospects. He has scored 12 goals and contributed 10 assists in 28 Premier League outings, and is now a key figure in Gareth Southgate’s England side.
As for Saliba, his debut Premier League season has been nothing short of sensational. Applying everything he learnt while on loan at Marseille in Ligue 1, the 22-year-old has been a calm and composed figure alongside Gabriel in central defence – putting in a number of player of the match performances – though a back injury has threatened to derail his progress heading into a key period of the season.
90min revealed in October that new contracts for Saka, Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli were viewed as a priority for Arsenal, but despite the latter being the only one of the trio to ink a new deal, sporting director Edu and the rest of the club’s hierarchy are confident that agreements with Saka and Saliba are close to being finalised.
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Indeed, 90min reported last month that Arsenal had agreed terms in principle with Saka, which will see him become the highest-paid player at the club. There’s now hope that the contract will be signed off at the conclusion of the season, when the Gunners hope to have fended off City – who have shown a serious interest in Saka – to win a first Premier League title in 19 years, and before he goes on holiday.
Arsenal also believe they are nearing an agreement with Saliba, who will have just 12 months left on his contract once the season finishes, and there’s a desire for his new deal to follow the same timeline as Saka’s.
Paris Saint-Germain have been long-term admirers of Saliba, while Juventus have showed interest, but the opportunity to continue developing under Arteta is understood to be a key factor in his willingness to stay put.
Saliba’s displays for Arsenal have also cemented regular call-ups to Didier Deschamps’ France squad, culminating in a place at last winter’s World Cup finals in Qatar.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss Julian Nagelsmann’s future and links to the vacant Tottenham head coach role, Barcelona’s ambition to bring Lionel Messi ‘home’, Brighton teenager Evan Ferguson, Florian Wirtz, Kalvin Phillips and more!
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