Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Trio sign on but are Arsenal set to lose a big asset?

Morning Gooners.

Fresh from signing up Tomas Rosicky and Per Mertesacker on new contracts, Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis have tied down Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Gedion Zelalem on extended deals with the club.

This can only be seen as excellent news for all concerned. Arsenal get to keep their best players for longer. The players get more money from an extended contract. It also allows both parties to grow together and hopefully win trophies.

Since Ramsey turned 22, in December 2012, we've seen him grow into one of Arsenal's best players. He had a fantastic 2013 where he cemented his place in the starting 11, alongside Mikel Arteta in the deeper midfield role. The pair helped Arsenal secure fourth place last season by a point from Tottenham.

And this season the Welshman has revelled in his football, scoring 13 goals in 27 appearances before injury against West Ham on Boxing Day. He's not been seen in an Arsenal shirt in 2014. His new deal though is fully justified in my opinion. Only 15 months ago he signed an extended contract but without a pay rise. This time round he's been rewarded with a weekly wage of around £100,000 making him one of the club's best paid players.

The Welshman said:
"I feel like there's plenty more to come. This season I've proven a lot of people wrong. 
"There was a tough time in the period after my injury but I've got through that and I feel really confident and feel like I'm improving with every game. 
"Hopefully now I can get back out onto that pitch as quickly as possible and show what I'm capable of doing and hopefully finish off the season in some style as well."
With the 23-year-old suffering a set back in his return to full fitness within the last 10 days, it is unsure when he'll be fit enough to play in the remaining nine league games. The manager is quite rightly taking his time with the Welshman to ensure there are no further set backs in his progress.

Also signing on is Santi Cazorla who has found in tough in his second season in north London. The little Spaniard was outstanding in his debut season in the Premier League but this term has struggled with Mesut Ozil taking his central role in the team and he has spent time on the treatment table through injury.

But a period of four goals in four games in January, including a man of the match display against Fulham have seen the 29-year-old display some of the features of his game which has turned him into a fan's favourite.

Cazorla said:
“I'm very happy at the Club, being able to stay here and sign [a new] contract - it's great to get it sorted. 
“I like being here, I'm happy and I think that the Club can be a big player in competing for the top trophies in years to come. That's important for me. 
“One of the main reasons for coming here was to get better as a player and joining Arsenal has definitely made me a better player.”
For too long we didn't handle contracts of senior players correctly, allowing them to run down so that they eventually had to be sold because they weren't prepared to commit their futures to the club and we were likely to lose them for nothing (Nasri, van Persie). However it now appears we've got the balance right in rewarding players for their good performances and service to the club.

Personally I'd love to see the club do all it can to get Bacary Sagna to sign a new deal. He is the one first team member we could lose in the summer because his contract is set to expire. He's been a fantastic player since joining in 2007 and I would like to see him stay for a couple more seasons at least. It feels that we might have missed the boat however and he could he heading for Italy or back to France.

Hopefully I'm wrong and a compromise can be reached with the 31-year-old because he remains to be one of the best right backs in the Premier League. It will be tough to replace him because there are not a lot of fantastic right backs out there at the moment.

Finally, congratulations to Gedion Zelalem on signing his first professional contract with Arsenal. May it be the first of many.

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