Mikel Arteta has revealed that a new contract for Bukayo Saka is a priority for Arsenal alongside resolving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future.
Speaking at Arsenal’s press conference on Monday the Spaniard made it clear that the futures of Saka and Aubameyang were crucial and at the top of his to-do list.
Saka, 18, has played as a makeshift left-back in his debut season, but Arteta is keen to move back into a more familiar attacking role.
The youngster has made 29 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and adding 10 assists. And such has been his impact that the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd and Borussia Dortmund have all been linked with his services.
Saka’s current deal is due to expire in 2021 and Arteta wants his future resolving.
“We are trying, as a club, to finalise the deals that are more urgent and are a priority for us,” said Arteta.
“The ones you are talking about [Bukayo and Aubameyang] – they are both really important, not just for now but for the future of the club as well and if the club has something to announce, they will do it in the right moment.”
“We have many discussions with Pierre, with his family and his agent. I’m pretty positive we can find the right agreement for all parties,” said Arteta, whose side return to Premier League action against Manchester City on Wednesday.
“I think it is our responsibility to make him feel this is the right next step in his career. In order to do that he needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and that we want him.
“He really needs to believe we can take this club forward in the way we want to and he’s going to be a key part.”
‘They have to keep developing’
Arteta meanwhile is keen to see his talented youngsters continuing to develop during the Premier League’s restart.
Arteta added: “They have to keep developing and one of the biggest challenges is always consistency.
“They have been doing it for a certain period of time, for certain moments of certain games but to do it consistently for every three days for 94 or 96 minutes, that’s a different story.
“In order to do that and develop the right way, they need the right players next to them, with the right mentality, with the right qualities and with the right drive.
“That’s what we have to do, we have to give them the right foundations in order for them to feel free to develop, without the extra pressure that they don’t need in these moments and they cannot carry on.
“We don’t give them too much responsibility too early, because there is always a risk to burn them.”