Pete O'Rourke Column: Arsenal advance on two more 'huge' deals, Leeds line up striker for the summer, Liverpool eye Kante swoop
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The Gunners have been busy this month working on new contracts for first-team stars Bukayo Saka, William Saliba and Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal already agreed terms with Gabriel Martinelli earlier this month for a deal that will see the Brazilian stay at The Emirates until 2027, and Mikel Arteta wasted no time in turning his attention towards other members of his squad.
Saka has verbally agreed to sign a new five-and-a-half-year deal with Arsenal, with his new £200,000-a-week wages set to put him among hte club’s highest earners.
Man City did have an interest in signing the 21-year-old England international, but after putting pen to paper on this new deal it’s safe to say that his long-term future lies with Arsenal.
Arsenal are prioritising a new and improved deal for Saliva, who has made such an excellent impression this season.
Talks are underway between player and club, and the Gunners are “confident” of agreeing a bumper new deal which will see him land a huge pay rise.
Xhaka is also on Arteta’s contract list, and sources tell me that talks have so far been positive between the club and the 30-year-old midfielder.
His current contract at the club runs until 2024 but Arsenal have offered a two-year extension.
Xhaka has made a miraculous turnaround in North London after being stripped of the captaincy in 2019 and Arteta views the Swiss international as a key player in his squad.
Expect Barcelona to go all-out for City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan this summer.
The 32-year-old’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the season and the La Liga giants are eager to snap him up on a free transfer.
Sources tell me that Man City have not yet resigned to losing the German international and will keep working to convince Gundogan to stay at the Etihad with a new deal.
Barcelona manager Xavi is keen to bolster his squad with midfield reinforcements in the summer, but the club’s unsettled financial situation means they have turned towards the free-agent market.
Man City were already eyeing up midfield targets for the summer before learning of Barcelona’s interest, but Gundogan’s exit could well accelerate their summer activity.
One midfielder firmly in City’s scope is Jude Bellingham.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League, and City are among the frontrunners for his signature alongside Liverpool.
City could also face further interest from Barcelona for midfielder Bernardo Silva.
The Portuguese playmaker has been a long-term target for the Catalan side, but so far City have fended them off with their £70million price tag.
However, the 28-year-old is certainly open to a Barcelona switch, and City could be faced with a difficult decision should a bid arrive on their table in the summer.
Harry Kane is once again on the agenda at Tottenham.
The 29-year-old’s current deal is set to expire in 2024 and Spurs have opened talks with the England star over a new deal.
Talks are at an early stage, but Tottenham are understandably desperate to keep hold of their star striker.
It is understood that Man United and Bayern Munich are both keeping close tabs on Kane’s situation as they sound out whether a summer move is possible.
Alongside the Kane negotiations, Tottenham are working on a contract extension for Eric Dier.
Antonio Conte is a huge admirer of the defender and believes him to be a key member of his squad.
According to my sources, talks are positive between the two parties and there is a confidence that it will be finalised soon.
In terms of summer activity, Tottenham have highlighted a left-sided defender as a top-priority signing.
Conte is not entirely convinced by Barcelona loanee Clement Lenglet and is yet to make a final decision on whether to sign the Frenchman permanently.
Leeds United want more firepower despite signing Georginio Rutter for a club-record £35million in the summer.
Sources tell me that the Yorkshire club are still in pursuit of Coventry City striker Viktor Gyokeres.
Leeds were interested in signing the 24-year-old over the January window but will return in the summer with refreshed interest.
The Coventry star’s contract expires next summer, and therefore the Championship side have slashed their asking price down to £10-12million.
It is understood that the Whites will attempt to sign Gyokeres in the summer even if the club are relegated.
Premier League rivals Bournemouth and Everton are also interested in signing Gyokeres this summer.
N’Golo Kante has only made two Premier League appearances for the Blues this season, but Graham Potter is eager to tie the French midfielder to a new deal.
His current deal expires this summer.
Chelsea are in advanced talks with the 31-year-old over a new one-year deal with an option for a further year.
Sources inform me that Chelsea were hesitant to offer a new deal but eventually tabled an offer.
The new contract is heavily incentivised with bonuses as per Chelsea’s new wage structure since Todd Boehly’s takeover at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea consider Kante talks a top priority after agreeing terms with Thiago Silva and stalling in negotiations with Mason Mount.
Liverpool are keeping an eye on Kante’s contract talks, while long-term admirers PSG are also keeping tabs on negotiations.