While the current hype at the Emirates is undoubtedly around Arsenal’s £42 million signing of Mesut Ozil, it’s important to also remember the club’s longer-serving members in what has been a difficult time for the Gunners.
The painful speed with which Arsenal’s summer business moved almost ran the course of the entire window. Not a single penny would have been spent on transfer fees were it not for the German midfielder.
However, during all that hesitancy, certain members of the squad have been resolute in their performances and could rightfully be handed longer deals at the club.
According to Metro’s Jamie Sanderson, Bacary Sagna, Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker—who was especially helpful in Arsenal's landing of compatriot Ozil—are those being linked with extensions.
The official Arsenal Twitter account backs up the claims:
Find out which three players could be offered new deals and who is in the 'form of their life" in Media Watch - http://t.co/1ZYnFeXHb5— Arsenal.com (@Arsenal) September 5, 2013
Defenders Mertesacker and Sagna have had an especially tough time of things after injuries set in early this season. The absences of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny have seen right-back Sagna having to fill in at central defence.
Linked with a move away from the club over the summer, it’s encouraging to see the Frenchman so willing to work for his place in the squad. His current contract is set to expire next summer, but Arsenal are alleged to be tabling another two-year offer to the 30-year-old.
Who deserves a contract extension the most?
The need for Mertesacker to pen a new deal isn’t quite as great—the German still has two years left on his deal, but the offer of a further 12 months would be a reward for consistent form.
However, perhaps the most deserving of all is 32-year-old Czech maestro Rosicky, who has been a reliable playmaker for the club, not just this term but also in the latter half of the 2012/13 campaign.
Rosicky has been a creative force when fit, earning the one-year deal set to come his way.
The Czech made eight of his 10 Premier League appearances in the second half of last season and maintained a passing accuracy of 87 percent, averaging almost a chance created per game, per Squawka stats.
Still in possession of a thin squad in terms of fully fit senior members, it’s vital that Arsene Wenger keeps the morale of those under his command high.
After a largely uneventful window, tying down some of the existing playing staff to new deals is also a handy way of winning over the Emirates faithful, who may still be in doubt of the Frenchman’s leadership.
Wenger's willingness to put faith in some of his old guard is the right way forward for a club who added very little to their ranks in the summer window.