The negotiations between Arsenal and Bukayo Saka over a new contract have been going on for several months and are going well, according to head coach Mikel Arteta.
The 18-year-old has been a rare bright spark for the Gunners in a season that can only be described as largely underwhelming. For all the talk of the top four being the main priority ahead of the campaign, the club were forced to send Unai Emery packing in November and appointed Arteta in his place, and while there has definitely been some improvement in performances since then, the results are still mostly worrying and there hasn’t been much movement on the Premier League table. But Saka has definitely caught the eye, with his pace, trickery and eye for teammates in the box, as well as a defensive responsibility that belies his tender years, often giving Arteta cause for optimism in regards to long-term future.
Trained as a winger but mostly deployed at left-back due to frequent injury issues of both Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac, Saka has so far made a total of 33 appearances, scoring three goals and assisting further 10.
Whatever Arteta may say, it seems the negotiations hadn’t gone all that smoothly from the start. Plenty of reports suggested so, even naming the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to be sniffing around for a potential swoop. But speaking to the press ahead of the Southampton trip, the boss said that the player, his family and representatives are all aware that huge trust is being put into him at the Emirates.
Arsenal have already agreed new contracts with defenders David Luiz, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares, while midfielder Dani Ceballos consented to extend his stay in north London on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the 2019/20 season. It is to be hoped that a deal will be struck soon with Saka too.