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Saka signs new Arsenal deal until 2027 | ‘I have everything here to be my best’
Bukayo Saka has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal.
Sky Sports News understands the winger’s new contract is a four-year deal until the summer of 2027.
Saka’s previous contract was due to expire at the end of next season, with the new deal a major boost to Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta.
The 21-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s standout players in the last two seasons, while also establishing himself as a key player for Gareth Southgate’s England team since the European Championships in 2021.
Saka has scored 14 goals and registered 11 assists in all competitions for Arsenal this season, while he was also the club’s top scorer last term with 11.
Saka’s excellent season for Arsenal also saw him nominated for the Premier League Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season awards, while Saka also joins Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Martinelli in committing their futures to the north London club.
“I’m just really happy,” Saka told the Arsenal official website. “There’s been a lot of talking and it’s been a while, but I’m here now. I think this is the right club, the right place to make the next step. It’s a beautiful club – look where we are.
“For me, it’s about achieving my personal ambitions; how much I push myself and demand from myself each game, week in, week out. Then I have all the right people around me in terms of family, and when I come to the training ground, my teammates, the coaching staff.
“I think I have everything I need to become the best player I can be, and that’s why I’m happy to stay here and be here for the future, because I really believe that we can achieve big things.”
Arteta: Everyone loves him here | ‘We want more players to extend’
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News as Saka’s new contract was announced, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta paid tribute to his winger’s caring character – and how he represents the club in the “best possible way”.
“First, congratulations to him and thank you for everyone at the club who has been trying to get that deal done. His family, his agent, everybody put a lot of work and time into it,” said Arteta.
“He represents this club in the best possible way and he has merited this contract with his contributions to the team, the club and how he is. Now we have to move again.
“He’s a very special person. He’s really likeable, really humble and loved by everybody here. The way he talks to people, he really takes time to understand how people are feeling and what they need.
“It’s not something he does because of his role, he’s genuine. That’s his biggest attribute, that he cares for people.”
Arteta says he hopes that more of the Gunners’ top young stars join Saka in committing to the club.
“We are hoping on a few of those,” Arteta added when asked about more contract renewals.
“We have gone through the season and we have tied down a very important part of the team and that’s what we wanted to do. This never stops, they keep evolving and developing.”
Analysis: Saka deal big news for Arsenal – but winger needs competition
Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz:
Long gone are the days when Arsenal would sell their best players.
Saka’s new deal – alongside Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Martinelli committing their futures to the club – represents the Gunners learning from the era when Manchester City and Barcelona used to poach their premium talent.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the Premier League title to City, Arsenal’s campaign has shown that the red half of London is a top place for young players like Saka to develop. With Martin Odegaard and William Saliba rumoured to be next on the new contract agenda, Arsenal have some of the Premier League’s brightest sparks and are making them theirs for the long haul.
But Arsenal’s next task regarding Saka is to give him more competition. Arteta’s next-best option on the right flank is Reiss Nelson, who has only been used for two hours of league football since mid-November.
Arsenal’s right-wing reliance on Saka has seen him start every Premier League game for Arsenal bar two in the last two seasons – and it has led to some fatigue in the previous two run-ins.
Saka failed to register a goal or assist in the final 10 games of last season, while he has failed to make a goal contribution in seven out of his last eight league games this term.
The barren run includes a missed penalty against West Ham last month, which Arteta has admitted in the last few days was one of the moments where the title race ran away from Arsenal.
Now Arteta and Arsenal have one of their key men tied down, the next step is to give him some competition and more rest and rotation time.
Arsenal transfers: Xhaka future to be announced this week
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Arsenal set to bid for Rice, but face competition from Bayern
Arsenal are expected to bid for West Ham captain Declan Rice at the end of the season, but Bayern Munich have also made contact with the player’s representatives.
Internal discussions at the Emirates Stadium are continuing over the possibility of signing the England midfielder, who was of interest to the Gunners back in January.
West Ham manager David Moyes has indicated there is a chance Rice could leave – provided the price is right.
That has also alerted Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga holders with new manager Thomas Tuchel keen to bring him to the club, according to Sky in Germany. Bayern have already reached out to family members of Rice, who act as his agents.
However, it is understood that the asking price for the Hammers captain could prove exorbitant for the German club.
Sky Sports News reported Rice has a “gentleman’s agreement” that he can move in the summer – provided West Ham receive an offer worth £120m, be that in a transfer fee or a transfer fee plus players.
Rice has one year left on his contract at West Ham – with the option of a further year.
Who else is on Arsenal’s midfield shortlist?
Arsenal also keeping an eye on Moises Caicedo’s situation at Brighton. Arsenal had two bids rejected in January – the latest was worth £70m.
Caicedo has since signed a new contract at Brighton – but manager Roberto De Zerbi has admitted to Sky Sports earlier this month that the player could leave in the summer.
Caicedo is understood to be “high on the list” of at least three other Premier League clubs.
Arsenal going for both Rice and Caicedo in the summer window has not been ruled out – but the prospect of bringing in both players would likely depend on money generated from possible sales.
Arsenal are also keeping an eye on a number of other midfielders, with Granit Xhaka expected to leave in the summer.
Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan have emerged as potential targets.
Mount’s Chelsea contract is up next summer. The England midfielder has missed the last few weeks of Chelsea’s season due to injury.
Gundogan is out of contract this summer – last month, he said talks with City were ongoing. City boss Pep Guardiola has made it clear he wants Gundogan to stay.
Arteta worked closely with Gundogan when he was assistant to Guardiola at City.
Redknapp: City must keep Gundogan | Keane: He’s world class
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp says Gundogan is a must-keep player for City, with the midfielder scoring four times in his last two Premier League starts for the Premier League champions.
“I’d certainly keep him. He’s a big-game player. You can see he has an influence in that dressing room,” said Redknapp.
“If I’ve ever seen a player in my life that is destined to become a great manager, it is him. He’s the manager on the pitch for City.
“He’s got so much class about him. Why would you want him to go? He’s still such an important player.
“Barcelona covets him. Everyone would want him, but I just think he’s perfect at City. The end of the season is when he seems to come and turn up even more.”
Meanwhile, Roy Keane added: “The only issue is probably over the length of contract. City aren’t known for giving out two-or three-year deals. He’s 32 now so that might be the issue.
“Clearly, he will have plenty of options because he’s a world-class player.”
Will Arsenal miss Xhaka?
Sky Sports Sam Blitz:
Over his seven years at Arsenal, Xhaka has done his fair share of dividing the Arsenal fanbase. Many are surprised he has survived this long.
Some saw him as part of the problem as Arsenal slid towards the middle of the table, others saw him as misunderstood and scapegoated.
But if Xhaka chooses to part ways with the club this summer, his departure will come at the moment he is finally universally liked at the Emirates Stadium.
Xhaka nearly walked away from the club in 2020, months after he was stripped of the captaincy after a public falling out with the fans, but Mikel Arteta told him to give it some time. That time has been vindicated as the Arsenal manager found him a suitable role in the team.
The 30-year-old has been an important, underrated attacking player, and one not burdened by the expectation carried by Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka. His place in the squad is similar: he does not wear the armband but many at the club claim he is skipper in all but name.
Yet if rumours are true of a dual interest in Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo – a double move which would likely cost the club north of £150m – then something has to give, and the reported £15m Xhaka would command might come in handy.
Perhaps Arteta is also looking to refresh his leadership group. The likes of Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney – two of the captains at the club – are also rumoured to depart this summer.
Given two end-of-season collapses have happened in a row – albeit in different contexts – a new changing-room direction might be on the Arsenal manager’s mind.
Ref Watch: Should Gakpo goal have stood? Mings red? Arsenal denied penalty?
On the latest Ref Watch, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher looks back at the most controversial moments from the weekend’s games.
Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa
INCIDENT: With Liverpool trailing 1-0 to Aston Villa, Cody Gakpo scores an equaliser but an offside check is made on Virgil van Dijk, who was standing in an offside position in the build-up after Luis Diaz’s header was blocked by Ezri Konsa. VAR rules that Konsa did not make a genuine attempt to play the ball, meaning Van Dijk was offside.
VERDICT: Correct decision in law, but it’s tricky.
DERMOT SAYS: “In law Gakpo’s goal shouldn’t have stood, the officials have got it correct. The way it is written, the referees are in a pickle with it.
“This is a very tough law to interpret. It’s all about if the player makes a genuine attempt to play the ball. Does he go to block the ball, does it strike him?
“If you look at this incident, the VAR can’t decide. He has to send the referee to the monitor because it has to be the referee’s decision and it has to be subjective.
“A block is a block. A genuine attempt to play the ball is to take the ball under control, clear it for a corner or to clear it up field.
“The referee has to second guess the player’s [Konsa] intention. The law as it is written doesn’t help the officials. If I was that player I would probably be upset.
“It’s a very unfortunate part of the law which leaves the officials hamstrung.”
INCIDENT: In the first half, Tyrone Mings is penalised for a high boot on Cody Gakpo, in which the Villa defender catches the Liverpool forward in the chest. The referee gives Mings a yellow card.
VERDICT: It’s a red card.
DERMOT SAYS: “There are stud marks all up his chest, he caught him at the top of his chest. He’ll say he got the ball but that doesn’t negate that as we saw with Casemiro earlier in the season.
“For me if you put your studs that high into someone’s chest you are lucky to stay on the field.
“When you are face to face on the field you can’t do that.”
Man City 1-0 Chelsea
INCIDENT: Julian Alvarez taps in a second goal for Man City but the VAR checks a handball by Riyad Mahrez in the build-up. The referee is sent to the monitor before ruling out the goal.
VERDICT: Correct decision.
DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a deliberate handball, you can see he leads into the ball.
“The ref has to go to the screen because he doesn’t see it from his position and it doesn’t lead directly to Alvarez scoring.”
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Arsenal
INCIDENT: Gabriel Jesus believes he has been dragged back by Joe Worrall in the penalty area. The referee opts noto to award the spot kick and instead cautions Jesus for his protestations.
VERDICT: Incorrect decision, it’s a penalty.
DERMOT SAYS: “It’s a massive, massive risk. If Worrall gets penalised, he can’t argue.
“If it was a penalty, it wouldn’t be a red card because he wasn’t in control of the ball. But I think it is a penalty for Arsenal and Jesus.”
West Ham 3-1 Leeds
INCIDENTS: Two West Ham goals were checked by VAR for tight offside calls on Jarrod Bowen and Lucas Paqueta. Both goals are given after the lines were brought out to find them onside.
VERDICT: Correct decisions for both goals.
DERMOT SAYS: “It was an amazing call for the Jarrod Bowen goal. That is so tight and it is all about the assistant’s position at the top of the screen.
“The other one I think is even harder because he is so close that he has to look down rather than across. Two incredible decisions from the assistant.”