Arsenal: Whelan backs Saka and Saliba for ‘massive’ new contracts
Arsenal‘s Bukayo Saka and William Saliba are both deserving of ‘massive’ new deals, according to pundit Noel Whelan.
The Lowdown: What’s the current situation?
At the beginning of January, the Gunners extended the contracts of both players by an additional year, amid continuing talks about new long-term deals.
Both contracts are now set to expire in 2025, but it is important that Mikel Arteta gets them tied down for the foreseeable future, with Manchester City interested in Saka, and Saliba already turning down one proposal from Arsenal.
The Latest: Whelan reacts
Speaking to Football Insider in the wake of Gabriel Martinelli committing his future to the club, Whelan urged Arsenal to seek a similar agreement with the aforementioned duo, saying:“Martinelli 100% deserves a contract with the season he’s having.
“But it’s about Saliba and Saka now. That is two integral parts of the squad.
“They’ve got to go all out to get them signed up.
“I think the sticking point was about Champions League qualification, but they’re 100% going to be playing in that competition next season.
“And that’s if they don’t go one step further and win the league.
“There’s no doubt that they look both happy and they deserve a massive new deal for what they’ve brought to this club.”
The Verdict: Get it done
Recently lauded as ‘wonderfully talented’ by Gary Lineker, Saka has been nothing short of fantastic for Arsenal over the past two campaigns, scoring 11 Premier League goals last term, while this season he has already matched the previous season’s output of seven assists in the top flight.
Transfer insider Dean Jones told GIVEMESPORT earlier this month that ‘vultures will be circling’ for the winger if there’s ‘any signs of discontent’, so it is important that the Gunners move swiftly, before a rival club spots a window of opportunity.
At the other end of the pitch, Saliba has emerged as a key player for Arteta this season, making the centre-back spot his own, having appeared 20 times in the Premier League, helping his side on their way to the second-best defensive record in the division.
Considering he has already rebuffed one offer from Arsenal, it is paramount that the 21-year-old is tied down to a new deal before he grows frustrated, as given his age, he could be a vital cog in the backline for years to come.