By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal are close to announcing that a core of five British players have signed new five-year contracts with the club worth a staggering £71.2 million (€87.6m), Goal.com understands.
Jack Wilshere will join Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs in the New Year in agreeing an improved deal that ties each of the players to Emirates Stadium until 2018.
Goal.com has learned that Arsenal will invest at least £71.2m (€87.6m) in the youthful home-grown quintet over the lengths of the agreements.
Ramsey, 21, Gibbs, 23, Oxlade-Chamberlain, 19, and Jenkinson, 20, have already agreed vastly improved terms on new contracts and they will soon be joined by club talisman Wilshere, 20, who revealed in an interview last week that he is close to signing a fresh deal.
Wilshere said: “I’m talking to the club and I will probably be committing my future to them in the next couple of weeks.”
Sources have said that Welshman Ramsey has agreed a three-year extension to his current agreement, which expires in 2015, that will increase his salary to a basic £60,000-a-week (€74,000).
England internationals Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gibbs have been tied up on £52,000-a-week deals (€64,000), while Jenkinson’s five-year contract is worth £25,000-a-week (€31,000).
Wilshere is set to follow suit by penning an £85,000-a-week (€105,000) contract that will take the standard-bearer of the new generation into the top bracket of earners at Emirates Stadium. Wilshere’s current deal, signed in 2010, is worth £52,000-a-week (€64,000).
The quintet’s deals will all be topped up by performance-related bonuses for appearances, goals and clean sheets.
Arsenal plan to announce the contracts for the five Britons all together early in the new year when Wilshere puts pen to paper.
The club regards the commitment to the current crop of emerging stars as a significant coup, given the recent departures of Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and the doubt surrounding the future of Theo Walcott, whose contract expires next summer.
The investment in Wilshere (£22.1m) (€27m), Ramsey (£15.6m) (€19.2m), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs (both £13.5m) (€16.6m) and Jenkinson (£6.5m) (€8m) amounts to £71.2m (€87.6m) over the lengths of their contracts and will be potentially worth tens of millions of pounds more depending on the success of the players and the team.
However, there could be disquiet in some quarters at Arsenal, who lie eighth in the Premier League ahead of Monday night’s trip to bottom-club Reading and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by League Two side Bradford City last week, rewarding potential rather than performance.