Mikel Arteta remains optimistic when it comes to Bukayo Saka’s future at Arsenal, with the Gunners trying to extend the 18-year-old’s contract amid talk of interest from Manchester United and Liverpool.
Another highly-rated academy graduate has burst onto the scene at Emirates Stadium this season.
A senior bow was made during the 2018-19 campaign, but further potential has been unlocked this term.
Saka has also seen his versatility put to good use, with Arteta deploying him at left-back during the injury-enforced absences of Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.
The youngster has taken in 23 appearances across all competitions and fully established himself as part of the first-team fold.
He is, however, only tied to a deal through to the summer of 2021.
Putting fresh terms in place has proved problematic for Arsenal, with Premier League rivals monitoring events closely, but Arteta believes agreements will be reached with those who are deserving.
With Saka in that category, he told reporters of the teenager’s future: “I am really happy with how they [young players] are developing.
“Part of that developing is to improve the contract and to tie them to the club. But that has to follow a natural process.
“We have Edu, we have Raul [Sanllehi], Vinai [Venkatesham] and Huss [Fahmy] who are in charge of that and I am sure we will do the right thing when players deserve to improve and extend their contracts.”
While looking to ensure that Saka remains part of the fold at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are also working on bringing further additions on their books.
They were relatively quiet in the January window, with Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares added to the ranks, but plans are being drawn up to get more deals over the line in the summer.
Pressed on whether that process has already started, Arteta said: “Absolutely.
“We have to plan and we need to know the direction we want to head and with that we need to bear in mind different scenarios and with that in mind, I have to tell the club what we need, where we think we can improve and where we want to end.
“And if we all end with the same thing, we put a plan together to try and execute it and make the process as short as possible.”
Arsenal’s focus in the present is on climbing the Premier League table, with a home date against Newcastle on Sunday offering them a chance to become upwardly mobile and move out of 10th spot.