Mikel Arteta has reacted to rumours of a new contract for Arsenal star Bukayo Saka, while also providing a promising update on the fitness of Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Saka’s current deal runs until 2024, giving the Gunners a bit of breathing room when it comes to a renewal. However, the England winger is reportedly being monitored by English rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.
That means Arsenal officials are rushing to sort out an extension before the 20-year-old is the subject of an official bid.
Ahead of Arsenal’s match against Crystal Palace on Monday, Arteta was asked about Saka’s contract negotiations.
He told a press conference (via football.london): “We are extremely happy with Bukayo. We are never going to share any conversations relating to private contracts but we are very pleased with him.”
The England winger has already made 33 appearances this season, scoring 10 goals. Add England matches to that, and it’s clear to see why some may call for him to have a break.
On this issue, Arteta continued: “I don’t know how much he would have played.
Mikel Arteta won’t interrupt Saka groove
“Sometimes when a player is in a good moment you don’t want to stop it. He had some time to rest and recover and hopefully can rediscover that form.”
Following Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Aston Villa, Saka requested more protection from referees due to being fouled in the match.
That claim did not please Steven Gerrard, but Arteta has now backed up his player: “I think Bukayo said that he’s not going to complain and he wanted some consistency and that’s all.
“The only people that can protect the player is the referee. I think we have to protect our best players and that’s in the hands of the refs.”
Arteta also spoke about right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu. The summer arrival had a great start to the campaign, only to pick up a calf injury in January.
Takehiro Tomiyasu ‘close’ to full fitness
The defender is on the mend and Arteta believes he is on the verge of returning.
“I think he will be close,” the Spaniard said. “He’s been training more and more. He will be joining some sessions this week so let’s see how it is.
“He had a recurring injury but in the other calf which was strange and difficult to predict.
“He’s been through a lot in the last two years with the amount of games he’s played and Covid. Hopefully we can find the reason so it doesn’t happen again.”
Opposition players have spoken about Arsenal celebrating victories wildly in recent months. Arteta doesn’t think this is a problem though.
“I don’t tell the players to celebrate or not, I think it comes from them and it’s great,” Arteta said.
“When I see them hugging with each other and enjoying with the fans who have made a trip I think for me it’s great. When they win they have to celebrate of course.”