Mikel Arteta admits that Arsenal are ready to enter into contract talks with Emile Smith Rowe, while a “crucial” transfer window is fast approaching for the Gunners boss.
Home-grown talent has been tied down on a regular basis at Emirates Stadium this season, with Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun among those to have committed to the club.
Smith Rowe may be next, with the 20-year-old playmaker – who is currently working on a deal through to 2023 – about to be presented with an improved offer.
Asked if discussions with Smith Rowe are in the pipeline, Arteta told Sky Sports: “We are going to have that discussion.
“I think Emile has earned the right to look at that situation because of the performances that he has produced.
“He’s very much engaged and wants to continue with us, that’s for sure.”
Smith Rowe’s future is not a matter of immediate concern to Arsenal, even with talks being planned.
Elsewhere, David Luiz is running his deal down towards free agency while Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos are approaching the end of loan moves from Real Madrid.
Alexandre Lacazette has a little over 12 months to run on his contract and speculation has surfaced regarding possible moves elsewhere for Hector Bellerin and Eddie Nketiah.
Decisions also have to be made on what to do with a collection of loanees that are currently out of sight and mind – including Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock.
Fresh faces will be sought out as well, with the Gunners approaching one of the most important windows in their recent history.
Asked if he sees things that way, Arteta said: “Yes.
“Because a lot of things have happened in the last few transfer windows. There are a lot of players in various situations. It’s crucial. We want to go to the next level and there are a lot of things we need to do to get there.”
Arsenal will be back in Premier League action on Sunday when taking in a trip to Newcastle, before then playing host to Villarreal in the second leg of a Europa League semi-final.