Arsenal ‘don’t fear’ Man City despite ‘monitoring’ of player locked in contract negotiations

Jason Soutar
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka during a match

Manchester City ‘really like’ Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka and have been ‘monitoring’ his situation, according to Ben Jacobs.

The Gunners are currently trying to tie Saka down to a new long-term contract.

The England winger will surely become one of the club’s highest earners if he does agree to pen new terms.

Saka has been Arsenal’s best and most consistent player during Mikel Arteta’s time as manager.

Even during the Spaniard’s toughest period in charge, Saka would shine and without his terrific form, Arteta may well have lost his job.

Now an incredibly crucial player for club and country, it is no surprise to see the likes of City register an interest.

Writing in his CaughtOffside column, Ben Jacobs has given some insight on Saka’s contract situation and if a move to the Etihad could be on the cards.

‘The complication is not about a desire on Saka’s part to leave, because he absolutely wants to sign at Arsenal, but he expects his form and progression to get improved terms that match that level of standard, and this can take time sometimes,’ Jacobs wrote.

‘Arsenal have to be careful not to set a precedent that can damage them in the future, because if they win the Premier League, qualify for the Champions League, every Arsenal player is going to naturally get bonuses and ask potentially for improved terms, and new players would come in on high packages as well, so you end up bumping up your wage bill and have other players holding you to to higher terms. So it’s a business consideration for Arsenal, but things are heading in the right direction and the full expectation is that Saka will stay at Arsenal.

‘The only fear is in the longer term – Manchester City, for example, really like him, they’ve monitored him, but it’s a long-term thing because even they don’t think he’s going to be moving in the short-term.

‘There’s generally a feeling within the industry that Saka is untouchable in the short-term. But in the long-term, it’ll be about the specifics of the contract – for example, could Saka ask for a clause where he can leave if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League in any given season?

‘He’s in a strong position to have his cake and eat it, he can push for amazing terms, and everyone knows he wants to stay and that Arsenal want him to stay, so can he work out a way to leave the door just ajar in the long-term in case the Arsenal project goes in another direction?

‘So it will be interesting to see if they do decide to allow a clause that opens the door to future suitors, but either way I don’t see an eventuality where Saka doesn’t sign a new contract, I think that will get done.’

Jacobs also discussed Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba’s contract negotiations.

Martinelli is expected to pen a new long-term deal, as reported last week, while talks to get Saliba to extend are the ‘most complicated’ of the three players.

Jacobs believes Paris Saint-Germain are a team ‘to watch’ as Saliba grew up in Bondy, which is six miles from the French capital.

Furthermore, the 21-year-old was eager to stay in his home country after a brilliant 2021-22 season with Marseille.

Despite interest from clubs like City and PSG, Jacobs says Arsenal ‘don’t fear any rivals’ and know the future of all three players are ‘in their own hands’.

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