New Arsenal Contract for Santi Cazorla Would Be Indicative of Changing Policy

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2014

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According to a report by Tom Bellwood of The Daily Mail, Santi Cazorla is set to sign a new contract at Arsenal:

The Spain midfielder has been in talks with club chiefs about signing an improved deal that will keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2017 - his current contract ends in 2016.

Sportsmail understands that Arsenal and Cazorla, who turned 29 in December, are close to finalising terms that will lift his salary to around £80,000-a-week.

It seems that any public declaration of an agreement will be made in conjunction with the announcement of several other new deals.

Bellwood goes on:

Cazorla’s new deal is set to be announced as part of a package with senior team-mates Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky.

Mertesacker, 29, has approved a new deal that will tie him to the club until the summer of 2017, while Rosicky, 33, has agreed a new one-year rolling contract.

Last season, Arsenal made a similar group announcement, releasing details of deals for a quintet of young British internationals simultaneously. Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey were all tied to long-term deals. Within a matter of weeks, Theo Walcott followed suit.

However, these latest deals are very different in nature. None of the trio are British or young. For all of them, this could be their last major contract.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  Arsenal goalscorers Santi Cazorla (L) and Tomas Rosicky (R) celebrate their team's 2-0 victory  during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on January 4, 2014 in Lo
Clive Rose/Getty Images

By the time Cazorla's mooted extension ends, he will be 32. This deal will ensure that he remains at Arsenal for the entirety of his peak years. The same applies to Per Mertesacker.

In the past, Arsene Wenger has been reticent to hand long-term deals to players close to their 30th birthday. That policy appears to be changing.

Having signed up the young core of his squad, Wenger is keen to ensure those promising players are surrounded by experienced professionals. Cazorla, Mertesacker and Rosicky are ideal role models for the likes of Gibbs and Wilshere.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18:  Santi Cazorla of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Cazorla’s deal will also see him earn a significant increase in salary. That’s undoubtedly linked to last summer’s acquisition of Mesut Ozil. In signing Ozil, Arsenal effectively announced a new era of spending at the club, breaking a once-rigid wage structure. It’s unsurprising and justified that other senior professionals should expect their salaries to rise accordingly.

There are, of course, two names conspicuously missing from the list of new deals. The first is Bacary Sagna. Arsenal have worked tirelessly to tie the Frenchman down to a new contract, but have thus far failed. It would be a tremendous blow to lose the consistent full-back.

The other name is that of the manager himself: Arsene Wenger.

He will probably withhold any announcement on his own future until all the players' deals are finalised. That multiple announcement, when it comes, could provide a huge boost to morale around the club ahead of the business end of the season.

 

James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.