Arsenal

Arsenal behind the scenes: Mikel Arteta and Bukayo Saka contract talks, Xhaka update, Morata deal

Arsenal news includes a look at some of the main talking points to come from our live Q&A

Arsenal will be active in the summer transfer window as they look to bring in a new striker, central midfielder and other new signings.

The Gunners completed two signings in January from the MLS but neither of them are expected to be involved in the starting line-up anytime soon.

football.london understands that two clubs have reached an agreement on an initial £4.5million fee rising to £7.5million with further bonuses, and the 27-year-old will officially complete his move in the summer transfer window as Bernd Leno’s replacement.

They also signed Auston Trusty from Colorado Rapids, although he will go out on loan to a European club next season in an attempt to fast track his development.

With Bukayo Saka and Mikel Arteta among those in contract talks with Arsenal right now, summer plans are being put into place by the club hierarchy to ensure the Gunners strengthen ahead of the 2022/23 season.

Any updates on the Xhaka armband refusal? Potential exit in the summer?

Chris Wheatley said: “The ‘armband refusal’ is a completely false narrative. Our Arsenal writer Kaya Kaynak cleared it up after the game:

KK: “For clarity Laca was trying to give the armband to Tierney who was preparing to take a throw but couldn’t hear Laca’s shout. Laca therefore gave it to Eddie to give to KT, but EN was told to stay in the CF position by Arteta. Nketiah then tried to give it to Xhaka to give to Tierney at that point but the throw in was about to be taken so GX told him to just hold on to it. Not a case of Xhaka refusing the responsibility at all & a bit of a stretch to say it’s a lack of commitment or anything like that.”

“As for a summer move, it’s certainly possible. Roma are expected to come back in for Xhaka with Jose Mourinho a long time admirer of the Swiss international. Arsenal would let him go for the right price.”

Chris Wheatley said: “He will certainly be offered a deal that will put him among Arsenal’s highest paid players. After bonuses, it is possible that it would see him as the club’s top earner.

“It’s not particularly surprising. Saka is a huge commercial asset for Arsenal – the face of his club and country – and continues to show why he is the most important player in the team. For those reasons alone, Arsenal want to get the deal done as soon as possible.”

Do you think there will be difficulties in getting Saka and Arteta to sign a new contract?

I would envision the Saka deal will take some time to conclude. His agents prolonged the extension for Folarin Balogun in order to get the best deal possible, and I’m sure they will do the same with Saka.

Regarding Arteta, from what I understand he’s happy in London, happy at Arsenal and wants to continue the long-term project that he started.

If we don’t finish in the top 4, how much will that affect the summer transfer budget?

Chris Wheatley said: “Arsenal lose a considerable amount (£25m+) for every year they are without a European football. Despite that, they have made huge efforts to trim the wage bill in recent years. Part of that is due to the Financial Fair Play rules which is one reason why they didn’t sign anyone in January.”

Is Lacazette definitely leaving? Who is his replacement? Also, is there any interest in Morata?

Chris Wheatley said: “We reported last summer that Lacazette told Arsenal he has no intention of signing a new contract. I haven’t heard anything otherwise in recent weeks and would expect him to leave when his deal expires. Regarding Morata, nothing concrete there right now.”

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