Premier League • England

Bukayo Saka exclusive: New Arsenal contract could contain get-out clause as Man City play the long game

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal

Arsenal are about to avoid any short-term risk of losing Bukayo Saka by making him one of their best-paid players via a new contract, TEAMtalk has been told – with the reasons behind his commitment being revealed.

Saka is understood to be on the verge of extending his contract with Arsenal, which is currently due to expire at the end of next season. With double figures for goals and assists in the Premier League this season, he has become a pivotal player under Mikel Arteta.

There have been links with a move to Manchester City, but confidence has been growing in recent weeks that Saka will be staying at Arsenal. In fact, he is believed to have reached a verbal agreement to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Now, insider Ben Jacobs has revealed to TEAMtalk all the background behind Saka’s upcoming renewal.

“There was genuine interest from Manchester City,” Jacobs said. “But even Manchester City felt like it was a case of playing the long game.

“And the beauty when you’re in the form of Saka and you’re negotiating is that there’s always a possibility of inserting player-led clauses that effectively allow you to have your cake and eat it.

“Six months or so ago, that was perhaps the thinking on Saka’s side that he had a desire to stay at Arsenal. And he knew that of course the club would pull out stops to try and keep him so in the short term, the player was always untouchable.

“And then in the long term, can the player get something that says: Well, if the project changes, for example, no Champions League football, you have the opportunity to leave at which point suitors realise that they might stand a chance in the long term but not in the short term.”

Right now, Saka is thoroughly enjoying his football under Arteta, while other figures off the pitch have helped him in recent years as well.

“There was never much doubt that he would renew simply because he loves playing under Arteta and he’s in the form of his life,” Jacobs added.

“And then even away from the football side when after the Euros he received all of that horrific racial abuse, Arsenal made sure that they helped him not only recover and get his confidence back on the football side but looked after him on the mental side as well.”

Full details of Bukayo Saka contract emerge

Although it has become clear that Saka will be staying, Arsenal are yet to make an announcement about his future.

According to Jacobs, though, there is no cause for alarm.

“Arsenal have always had all of the ingredients to renew Saka, and around about now, six weeks ago, there was a verbal agreement or an agreement in principle,” our insider explained.

“It’s no cause for panic or concern that it hasn’t yet been announced that he has renewed because sources always intimated that the verbal framework for the renewal would take some time still, to actually get locked down and announced and it could be towards the end of the season.

“The contract is expected to be until the summer of 2028 so from Saka’s perspective, very much giving Arsenal his long term future.”

Financially, the 21-year-old will be earning figures that prove how important he is to Arsenal.

“Saka will effectively become one of, if not the best-paid player at Arsenal if, and this is the key point, all of the possible bonuses and incentives are activated,” Jacobs continued.

“So the base annual earnings, if you like, are going to be somewhere in the region of a minimum of £9-10million, but the bonuses could well add another £4-or-5million on top of that, which means that he could be extremely handsomely paid.

“And this has been about Arsenal financially speaking anyway, showing Saka that he’s indispensable and that they deem him to be untouchable and rewarding him for the form that he’s on.”

Jacobs also told us that there is a feeling that Saka is “hitting a peak at a slightly younger age than we expect for footballers”, while in terms of his development, “he believes that Mikel Arteta is the manager to get that extra improvement out of him.”

The reporter concluded: “What Arsenal like about Saka, is that they still feel like they can improve him even further, which in turn obviously gets value out of paying these kinds of high numbers on the new deal.

“The new contract is expected to be formalised now pretty soon, and there doesn’t appear to be any chance of any twist on this one. Saka will extend at Arsenal and be there for the long term, that is to be expected because Arsenal have said for months and months, long before any numbers were agreed, and when things were still a little bit more uncertain, exactly the same thing that Saka is untouchable. And when he signs formally that new contract, they’ll be proven right.”

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