Morning folks. How are we all feeling? Tis’ better to go in to an international week of boredom with the glow of victory just behind us than the spectre of defeat, eh? I for one love it, because it means continuous gorging on Arsenal content without it winding me up. I go running every day and I usually listen to podcasts when I run. After you’ve listened to the third or fourth podcast after a defeat though, it gets a little trying. But after a win – and a good win too – it is like nectar for mine ears. So this morning I continued my podcast listening and I’ve been flicking through various blogs and other news stories about Arsenal for the last 48 hours with some glee.
And the noises about Arsenal talking to Saka at the moment about a new deal are welcome too. He deserves it. He’s probably our best player at the moment (duking it out for that accolade with Partey and Odegaard) and we need to get him tied down as soon as possible. Apparently we’ve just started up formal talks about a new deal and that’s been confirmed by Ornstein too, so you know the news is legit. The question is what Saka’s ‘team’ thinks and hopefully we’ll start to hear those positive noises too.
His agent is a canny one though. When we signed Saka to a four year deal last time around it was a shorter contract than you’d expect for such a young player, but I haven’t really paid attention to the terms of the deal until recently, where upon it seems that the player himself is ‘only’ on £30,000 per week at the club. If that’s the case – and I’m not sure how much truth you can really tell – you can kind of understand why the agent only wanting four years. If he’d have signed a five year deal then Arsenal could keep the player on £30,000 per week for another year and given his value to the team right now, that feels like it is a bit of a discrepancy to me.
We all know footballers are paid an inordinate amount of money for what they do, but in some cases it feels warranted and in Saka’s case it does feel like he needs to be bumped in a big way. The best players in the team need to be on the biggest wages and if Arsenal are indeed going to look to treble his money to £125,000 per week, as is being reported in the papers today, y9ou can’t say that Saka hasn’t proved he’s worthy of it based on what he’s doing.
There’s also the fact that Auba’s big money deal will be off the table in the summer, as will Lacazette’s deal come to an end, so my hope is that this is suitable for all parties if those numbers are accurate; Saka gets a massive pay rise, Arsenal get to keep an important asset, whilst not smashing the wage structure like they have done in recent years. The hope is that itg is win-win.
Unless, of course, the agent has grand designs of a different nature. Because if the agent fancies talking to the likes of City and saying “make it £250k per week and Saka is yours” then we might have a problem. I feel like this could potentially go the way of Sterling to City, for example. Sterling seemed happy there but when the time came, he and his agent clearly fancied the riches of City and knowing that they would need to cash in on a player who could run down his contract, Liverpool let him go. Forget the nonsense about ‘not matching my ambition’, I suspect that was initially fuelled by the money ‘project’ that was just kicking off at City.
Perhaps Saka is different though. Sterling is a London lad and perhaps did not form as close an attachment to Liverpool as we hope Saka has? Perhaps the fires of fandom flamed by player at Hale End for so long can keep Saka attached to his boyhood club? That’s what we have to hope for. Of course if he continues the trajectory that he has been on, then Arsenal need to step up too. Saka will want Champions League football sooner or later and he’ll also want to be competing for top honours. If Arsenal can offer that then it feels like he’ll have no reason not to stay. But we have to continue to develop and do so under Arteta. Which then makes you think about the coach and his position too. One year left in the summer and Arsenal should absolutely be tying him down to a new deal. I know we haven’t achieved anything yet, I know it could still all go belly up, but I think what we’ve seen so far this season is a unity he has built amongst his players; they buy in to his methods and that will include Saka. Bukayo signing on this summer will be a big tick for Arteta being able to convince players of the direction of travel of The Arsenal, but The Arsenal also need to convince Arteta that he’ll be supported and backed too.
For what it’s worth, my view is that I think Arteta knows that and I hope that the new contract for the manager should be just a formalities thing, particularly if Saka and Arteta’s contracts both have some form of links attached to them. If both sign on in the summer then it is an indication that this ‘project’ is getting buy in from all over the team and that’s a massive positive for us in the hope that we really are on the road to something special, rather than it falling flat just as it feels like it might start to get going.
Let’s hope the positive noises about these two deals happen and we have ourselves some good news by the time next season comes around.
Just wrapping up on the news for the day and isn’t it nice that Saliba has a call up to the French national team. It is vindication of his decision to go to Marseille, he’s playing games and looking impressive and I for one am happy for him. In the summer we absolutely must move to get him tied down to the first team and then get him integrated in to playing for the Arsenal first team. Based on this call up you’d have to argue that he is, finally, ready for it.
Catch you all tomorrow.