Arsenal are keen to tie Bukayo Saka down to a new long-term deal amid fears they could lose their young star if they fail to qualify for a European competition next season.
The 18-year-old has thrived in an unfamiliar full back role this season, recording more assists than any other teenager in the Premier League.
Saka is a winger by trade, but set up two goals from full back in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday, having scored in their 2-1 FA Cup victory over Bournemouth three weeks prior.
According to a report in the Times, the Gunners have begun talks with the England Under-19 international over a new lucrative deal.
Saka has 18 months left to run on his current deal at the Emirates, which is worth around £3,000 per week.
However, the report states that Saka has been reaping the benefits of playing on the European stage this season, and wants to continue competing against the top players on the continent.
The Gunners are currently six points off of rivals Tottenham in fifth, and a further point behind Chelsea in the final Champions League spot. However, they are still in the Europa League and FA Cup, with victory in either automatically booking them a place in Europe for next season.
Arsenal are determined to complete the new deal for Saka by the summer, or else they could face losing him for a price below his market value – or risk letting him go for nothing the following summer.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, Saka’s impressive form has not gone unnoticed, with a handful of teams likely to be playing European football next year showing an interest.
According to the Metro, Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool are both keeping an eye on the youngster, alongside Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
The Gunners quest to secure European football next season continues on Thursday, as they face Olympiacos at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in the Europa League.