Talks planned: Arsenal set to offer senior trio fresh deals (not Sanchez or Ozil)
By Matt Farr
Arsene Wenger has revealed he intends to offer Arsenal trio Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere fresh deals at the club.
The trio are approaching the end of their current deals, with midfield ace Wilshere out of contract at the end of the current season.
Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, still have just over a year left to run, but Wenger is set to offer them extended deals at the next available opportunity.
The Arsenal boss admitted to the Telegraph that he was keen to retain the domestic nucleus of the Arsenal squad, which also includes Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, as it is integral to the club’s vision.
He said: “We still have a group of young players but we have to keep them all. We have Ramsey, Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs. All these players, we have to make decisions and manage to keep them together.”
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Wilshere is arguably the most pressing concern for Wenger, with the 25-year-old just over a month away from leaving the club on a free transfer.
The English midfielder had slipped down the pecking order last summer, and was permitted to join Bournemouth on loan for the season in a bid to prove his fitness and get regular first-team football.
Wilshere has done just that, and Wenger’s latest transfer admission suggests that the door could be opened for him to re-join the first team squad at the Emirates for next season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, has also become a major concern. The 23-year-old has not developed quite as well as hoped, but he has looked impressive in recent weeks playing in a number of different midfield roles.
But there has been increasing uncertainty as to whether Oxlade-Chamberlain is looking to remain at the club for the long-term, although Wenger insists it is ‘vital’ he stays with Arsenal.
Gibbs, on the other hand, has found regular opportunities limited due to the presence of Nacho Monreal as the club’s preferred left-back option.
However, Wenger insists that his full back still has a role to play in the first-team squad, and wants to see him commit his long-term future to the club.
Wales international midfielder Ramsey, who is also out of contract in 2018, could also be offered a new deal, despite continued criticism from fans over his ability.
But no further progress has been made on negotiations for Arsenal’s star duo, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, with a decision also yet to be made on the future of Wenger as manager.
Football Insider verdict
The necessity of landing these deals likely extends as far as meeting the home-grown player quota within the financial fair play rules. Wilshere could still do a job for Arsenal, but given their current lack of quality in the midfield, any fresh option would be welcomed. Despite rediscovering some form for Bournemouth this season, he could still be considered short of the quality Arsenal need to rebuild their team this summer. The same goes for Gibbs, meanwhile, with the left-back area requiring considerable improvement. The Ox has been good in midfield this term, but until he can perform consistently, there will always be doubts over his ability. But they may be useful to keep on board as squad players as opposed to regular first-team assets.
In other Arsenal transfer news, Wenger has revealed he wants this player to be at the club next season.