Mikel Arteta has addressed the rumours surrounding Bukayo Saka’s contract with the club.
The 18-year-old, who has been a key part of Arsenal’s season, will enter the last year of his current deal in the summer. Already in the final 18 months of this contract, Liverpool and Manchester United have been linked with moves for Saka by the Mail.
He currently earns around £3,000-per-week in North London, but the Gunners are hoping he will commit his long-term future to Arsenal.
Arteta insisted he has been impressed with the progress Saka has made along with the other Arsenal youngsters and feels new contracts are part of the rewards they deserve.
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“I’m really happy with how they (the young players) are developing,” he said.
“Part of their development is to improve their contract and tie them to the club but I have to follow a natural process.
“We have Raul (Sanllehi), we have Edu (Gaspar), Vinai (Venkatesham) and Huss (Fahey) who are in charge of that and I’m sure we will do the right thing when players deserve improved contracts.”
As it stands Saka has played 23 games for the Gunners this season and impressed wherever he has been played.
Handed his debut by Unai Emery in January 2019, the former-head coach put trust in him once more at the start of this season by playing him on the wing in the Europa League.
Impressing there he got opportunities in the Premier League but had to wait for injuries at left-back to get regular football under Freddie Ljungberg and Arteta.
Having played as a left-back for England at youth level, the transition hasn’t been foreign to the 18-year-old. Especially since the turn of the year, he has excelled in the role, forming a free-flowing partnership with Gabriel Martinelli.
As a result, Arteta gave his thoughts on whether Saka could be a long term option in that position.
“I think he could (have a future at left-back) because he’s willing to learn, he is applying himself big time he is someone that’s has never played (that position) before but he’s really trying to do it as well as possible,” Arteta said in January.
“You can see that he’s got many strengths to play in that position. Obviously he needs games, he needs experience and he needs to improve in some areas but that’s very good.”