Ray Parlour: The two players Arsenal must tie down to new contracts after Bukayo Saka

Ray Parlour has urged Arsenal to hand contract extensions to William Saliba and Martin Odegaard following the news of Bukayo Saka’s new deal.

It was reported on Tuesday that Saka has agreed to sign a new contract with the Gunners that will see the 21-year-old become the club’s highest earner on £300,000-a-week.

This is huge news for Arsenal, who have managed to convince the England winger to stay after months of speculation surrounding his future, given that his current deal expires next year.

‘In the open market god knows what he would be worth, but every team would be queuing up around the block to sign him if they could,’ Arsenal legend Parlour told Fairplay.

‘Most teams around the world would love someone like Saka in their team, who’s that good at that early age in his career, so it will be brilliant news for Arsenal when his contract extension is confirmed.

‘Saka will like what he sees at Arsenal at the moment because when you look at the direction they’re going in, it’s a positive direction.

‘The owners know now they’ve got the right manager to take the club forward and get back to winning ways like they did under Arsene Wenger. They’ll back the manager as we’ve seen by putting down the money for Saka’s extension, so it’s great news.’

Arsenal are leading the title race, eight points clear of Manchester City as we enter the final stretch of the season and Arteta and co. will be keen to keep as much of his team as possible at the Emirates as they look to future success.

He added: ‘You want the young players to stay together, that’s what it’s all about. Once you get a group of young players, they develop together.

‘Gabriel Martinelli obviously signed a new contract, which is good news, it looks like Saka has and hopefully William Saliba is the next one that can sign a new contract.

‘Martin Odegaard has also shown enough now to deserve a new contract, I’d certainly be negotiating, because he’s played so well. He’s been the best midfielder in the Premier League this season. What he’s done in an Arsenal shirt has been excellent.

And Parlour believes that the club should start that process by handing new deals to Saliba and Odegaard, whose current contracts expire in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

‘It’s so important for the club, once you’ve got that young core of players, that you try and develop them over the next four to five years. And they’re only going to get better.’

‘That’s the beauty of having young players because they should improve together and if that happens the team will improve as well. I’m sure during the summer, if Arsenal can win the Premier League, there will be lots of players who are deservedly renewing their contracts.’

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