Arsenal set to open Bukayo Saka contract talks as Mikel Arteta seeks to tie England star

Saka will have two more years on his contract this summer and Arsenal want to link a player who Arteta says is part of the club’s DNA.

The 20-year-old (below), who has been with Arsenal since he was eight, came through the club’s academy and is now an England regular.

Arsenal want to reward Saka for his progress and importance to the team, with clubs across Europe no doubt monitoring the situation in case an opportunity arises to secure one of the Premier League’s best young players. .

Arteta said: “It’s a conversation we’re going to have with the player, then his agent, his family – [talks] which are also going to be extremely important – so everyone is on board.

“Obviously, our desire is to keep Bukayo as long as possible, because we are really happy. He is part of our club, of our DNA, he is growing, he is maturing.

“His importance in the team is indisputable and we want to keep our best talents, that’s for sure.”

Arsenal will also be looking to strengthen their squad this summer after a quiet transfer window in January. The club allowed six players to leave last month, either permanently or on loan, and Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny could also leave this summer when their contracts expire.

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Arteta knows Arsenal, who are back in action tonight after their mid-season break while playing at Wolves, need to bring in new players, but the Spaniard is also aware that a balance needs to be struck so not to hinder the growth of young players such as Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Saka.

“Here there are two things,” Arteta said. “It’s about trying to build a team where you have room for those players to develop, and the other is having those players develop when we’re extremely competitive.

“Because if you sign three top players, and those kids start not playing anymore, what happens? You can’t have both. If you sign big players, with a lot of money, the Money has to be on the pitch – which means those players won’t be on the pitch.

“So we have to find the balance, but with the standards that this club demands, which is to be the best. That’s what we try to do, but without killing what grows.

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