EXCLUSIVE | By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal have made a breakthrough in contract negotiations with Jack Wilshere as they attempt to tie him down to a new deal this summer, Football Insider sources understand.
Wilshere’s camp have given indications in preliminary negotiations that the midfielder is keen to commit to an extended deal that includes a substantial pay rise.
This is a boost for Arsenal as they press ahead with plans to reach an agreement with the England star after his club and international colleague Theo Walcott signed a new four-year contract.
Wilshere has three years to run on his existing £90,000-a-week package but Arsenal want to avoid a situation where he could be antagonised into pushing for a move.
The England midfielder is a target of Manchester United and he is also being linked with their neighbours Manchester City.
However, Football Insider understands that Arsenal have no intention of cashing in on their youth Academy graduate and will reject any bids for him.
Manager Arsene Wenger retains full faith in the Gunners talisman despite some off-field controversies and the series of serious injuries that have stalled his progress since his breakthrough 2010-11 campaign.
The 23-year-old is seeking a deal that lifts his current agreement in line with fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who signed a £110,000-a-week contract last year.
United are interested in Wilshere as they assess options to reinvigorate their central midfield, with manager Louis van Gaal keen to sign at least one top-quality midfielder this summer. United are already closing in on the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton.
Despite concerns about Wilshere’s injury record, Arsenal will refute all offers, including any over £30million, for a player who joined the club as an eight-year-old.
Wilshere made just 23 Arsenal appearances last season and was sidelined by the latest in a series of ankle injuries for nearly six months.