Mikel Arteta has said that Arsenal are working hard to tie down William Saliba’s long-term future, while also calling on the club to ‘absolutely nail’ their summer business in order to build on this season. The Gunners lost 3-0 at home to Brighton last weekend, all but ending their Premier League title hopes. Saliba was absent from that match and the eight previous league games after suffering a back injury in Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon in March.
The Frenchman is only contracted to the club until 2024 and tying down his future is one of Arsenal’s top priorities, with Arteta still optimistic that the 22-year-old will pen fresh terms. Asked if it is a concern that Saliba is nearing the final year of his contract, Arteta said on Friday: ‘We are trying. We are having conversations and we are trying to maintain obviously the talent that we have at the club, as I’ve said before. But things take time. You have to agree it, there are different parties involved. I think everybody’s intention is the same and hopefully we’ll find the right solution.’
Arsenal are expected to have a busy summer, with the likes of Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo on their wish list, and Arteta feels nailing their transfer business in the coming months will be key to competing on multiple fronts next season. He added: ‘We have built that core and that foundation. It’s a lot of quality, a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm but as well surrounded by good people with the right experience and a lot of leadership around them. We have to continue to do that, because the demands, the expectation, the challenges next season will be even higher so we cannot get confused of why we are here today and have a lot of clarity in how we’re going to get what we want in the next seasons.’ Arsenal travel to the City Ground on Saturday evening to take on a Nottingham Forest side who are battling to remain in the Premier League.