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Santi Cazorla and Per Metersacker set for contract extensions at Arsenal

Saturday 7th January 2017
As Arsène Wenger looks to secure the long-term future of his football club, he's made the contract negotiations of several players his number one priority. With various clubs monitoring the situation of Arsenal stars, Wenger has come out today and confirmed his intention to extend the contracts of club captain Per Mertesacker and his vice-captain Santi Cazorla.
31-year old Santi Cazorla and 32-year old Per Mertesacker will be happy to know of Wenger's plans to keep them at the club for another 12 months. Both players see their contracts run out this summer, and Wenger has openly deliberated about their futures over the recent months, but now it's clear he's made up his mind.

The pair are going to be offered new terms due to Wenger valuing their years of experience as an asset to the squad. Wenger hopes the duo will become mentor-like figures to young rising stars in the squad. Youngsters like Héctor Bellerín, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi.

Granit Xhaka has come under the microscope as of recently; the 23-year old has received 1 red card, 2 yellow cards and conceded 2 penalties this season. The Swiss midfielder has shockingly received seven red cards since April 2014, and now Wenger has called on him to retain his discipline in future matches.

Since joining Arsenal four years ago, Santi Cazorla has made 180 appearances for the club, scoring 29 goals and winning two FA Cups back-to-back. While the German has made 208 appearances for the club, winning two FA Cups as well.

Speaking to the papers yesterday, Wenger said: "We have an option on both of them and I think we will take it." Wenger further went on to further justify his decision: "For their qualities as football players firstly but as well for their mental guidance."
Arsenal have often been berated for having a lack of leaders but Wenger is here making a statement with these contract negotiations.

"We need to have a balance between youth and experience. They are important in that."

The two senior players are both injured, Mertesacker is currently back in full training but is still far away from a first-team return. The German picked up the knock in pre-season and hasn't played a single minute all campaign which was obviously a bitter blow for all involved.

In the press conference yesterday, the boss also revealed how Santi Cazorla's recovery from an achilles surgery is going slower than expected, meaning he could be out longer than the three months first predicted. At this rate, the Spaniard could return some time in March.

With Cazorla out for the foreseeable future, Jack Wilshere out on loan, Francis Coquelin suffering with a hamstring issue and Mohammed Elneny at the AFCON, Arsenal are experiencing a mini midfield crisis. Despite the less than perfect situation, Wenger still stands by his decision to send the England international to Bournemouth.

"Yes, I could use him now. But at the start of the season, you have to have the right balance between competition and chances to play for the player."
Cazorla and Mertesacker seem to be the first two on a long list of pending contract renewals. Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez are all coming to the end of their current deals. Arsenal need to secure all these players, and Wenger has made a promising start.

Arsenal fans, how do you feel about the news?
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 

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