By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to put talks of their future on the back-burner and focus on their Premier League title charge.
The Gunners head into the weekend a point behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more and with Europe-chasing Brighton travelling to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
While Arteta’s side have been in fine form this season, there are a number of issues outstanding heading into the summer.
England pair Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka are believed to be close to signing new deals while Reiss Nelson is out of contract and Granit Xhaka has this week been linked with a move back to Germany.
But Arteta batted away questions on the future of some of his key players on Friday and is keen for focus to remain solely on the challenge for a first league title in 19 years.
“Obviously where we are with each individual is probably different in terms of timing but the clarity is there,” he said of deals for players that may be in the offing.
“We have communicated to each of them what the intentions are and we are trying to get that done as quickly as possible but respecting and not losing any focus on what is the real deal right now.
“The moment there is anything to announce with any individual, we will do that as a club like we always do. It’s not the moment to talk about that.”
Back on the road this weekend. 🛣️🔜 pic.twitter.com/SkxsZ7UNnk
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) May 12, 2023
While the deals for Saka and Ramsdale are all-but finalised, Nelson could yet leave for free in the summer.
Xhaka has been linked with a move away – with Bayer Leverkusen reportedly chasing his signature – but Arteta would not be drawn on the future of the Switzerland captain.
“As you can understand I’m not going to be replying to certain stories,” he added.
“I’m extremely happy with Granit, I think he is having an incredible season, probably the best season he has had at the club and we are really happy to have him.”