Bukayo Saka has ended Liverpool’s hopes of signing him by agreeing a new contract with Arsenal.
The 21-year-old star will put pen to paper on a long-term deal at the Emirates after reaching a breakthrough in talks with the club, it’s been claimed. Saka’s current contract is due to expire in June 2024 after Arsenal triggered a one-year extension clause, but the Gunners have always been seeking to tie down one of manager Mikel Arteta’s most important players on fresh terms.
According to the Athletic, it may take some time for the England international winger to sit down and formally sign his new deal but an agreement in principle has been put in place. Saka has helped his boyhood club reach the top of the Premier League table this season, but there were rumours last summer which suggested that Liverpool were lining up a surprise move.
A series of reports outlined how Reds boss Jurgen Klopp allegedly hoped to sign the Arsenal academy graduate, who’s established himself as one of the most feared wingers in European football after breaking into the Gunners’ first-team more than four years ago. Premier League title rivals Manchester City were also said to be interested in acquiring his services, alongside Italian giants Juventus.
Joining Liverpool always appeared to be an unlikely prospect, though, with Saka spending 15 years of his life at Arsenal and Arteta overseeing an impressive turnaround at the club over the past two seasons. As the Gunners enjoy looking down from the summit of the table, Klopp’s side languish in eighth place.
His decision to remain in North London serves as a huge boost for Arteta, after the Emirates hierarchy also reached an agreement with Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli over a new long-term contract earlier this month. Saka and Martinelli have both been instrumental in Arsenal’s resurgence, and they each scored goals during Saturday’s crucial 4-2 win away to Aston Villa.
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As far back as August, Arteta made it clear that he was “very confident” the 21-year-old would sign a new deal. “We as a club, Bukayo and his family and agent are all aligned,” the Spaniard added. “Now it’s about putting that on a piece of paper. I would like that to get done because I don’t want players to be distracted in the season. But these things take time.”
Later that month, Saka indicated that an agreement was close. “Yes, I share his confidence,” he said after hearing Arteta’s comments. “I really feel at home here. I really feel the love from my team-mates, my coaches and the fans as well. I really feel loved here.”
The Gunners continue on their quest to win the club’s first title in 19 years when they visit Leicester City on Saturday. Arteta and Co. are currently two points clear of City with one game in hand.