Arsenal trigger contract extensions of crucial pair as long-term negotations remain top priority

Date published: Monday 2nd January 2023 1:54 - Jason Soutar

Arsenal players Bukayo Saka and William Saliba

Arsenal have activated clauses in William Saliba and Bukayo Saka’s contracts to keep them at the club until at least 2024, according to reports.

Both players had entered the final six months of their contract and the Gunners are extremely eager to tie them down to long-term deals.

Multiple reports now state their deals will both expire in 2024 after the club triggered a one-year extension clause in each contract.

One report comes from ESPN, who say the club’s hierarchy is hoping to agree new long-term deals with the duo – as well as Gabriel Martinelli.

Martinelli’s deal also expires in 2024, though it is believed that Arsenal can extend it by two years, which is a huge insurance policy to have.

The Premier League leaders are remaining aggressive in their desire to agree fresh terms with the Brazilian winger – who has already revealed his desire to commit his future to the Londoners.

Speaking in November, the 21-year-old said: “I’m very happy at Arsenal. I said it many times. This is my club. I love to be here, I love the city, the club, everything about Arsenal.

“I want to stay. I’m very happy. I just need to get a pen [to sign a contract].”

Arsenal only paid £5million to sign Martinelli from Brazilian club Ituano in 2019; a signing that is arguably the best one made by the club since Arsene Wenger left in 2018.

After struggling to establish himself as a consistent starter under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, he is now one of the club’s most important players.

Like Saka and Saliba, Martinelli’s wage does not reflect his importance to the team.

It is believed that Martinelli earns a decent £90,000-a-week, but does deserve a pay rise given the crazy figures in football these days.

Saliba and Saka, on the other hand, earn a measly £40k and £30k per week. How do they survive?

The latter is arguably Arsenal’s best and most important player and has performed at a remarkably consistent level since breaking into the first team during Emery’s time at the Emirates.

Now a crucial player for his club and for England, Arsenal boss Arteta is desperate for the winger to commit his future to the club, and the player has hinted that he wants to do just that.

Fans are confident Saka and Martinelli will extend and are a little less sure about Saliba’s desire to stay for the long term.

The France international defender joined from Saint-Etienne for £27m in 2019 but did not make his first-team debut for the Gunners until the opening day of this season.

Saliba has kept his place in the team alongside Gabriel Magalhaes and is a huge reason why the Gunners sit seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

His terrific performances for Arsenal after an incredible season on loan at Marseille has made Saliba a favourite amongst the club’s supporters and it is clear to see why Arteta wants him to sign a new contract.

Negotiations will continue between Arsenal and all three players as they also conduct some business in the January transfer window.

Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk is believed to be their top target.

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