The main news tonight is that the Mirror and the Mail are reporting that Arsenal are set of offer Jack Wilshere a new "bumper" contract.
Coming back from his 17 month stint on the sidelines, Jack has readily reasserted his position in the starting eleven, and why is is rated so highly as on of Arsenal and England's great hopes. The Mirror article says that:
"The new deal is likely to make Wilshere one of the club's top earners, is likely to have staggered increases and also be more than five years."
Frankly this is great news, as it shows that the board have learnt something from the whole Walcott saga - that is still developing as we speak - and, with 2 and half years left on his 50k/week contract, we are taking action quickly to tie down one of Europe's brightest prospects, and one of the leagues best players too. The deal will undoubtedly put him on a level with current high earners such as Podolski and Cazorla, and there is also talk that the deal may include a clause that will make Jack captain in the next few years.
The article also mentions that deals are being discussed currently with Gibbs and Chamberlain, who both aim to be tied down to the club in long term deals.
The one negative is that this swift contract negotiations out the spotlight back onto the Walcott saga, and we begin to question why he wasn't secured on a long term deal a few years ago, and why we have to go through the situation where we have one of our key players possibly leaving on a bosman deal yet again. It also worries me over Sagna, whose current deal expires in 18 months. The Frenchman is clearly one of our best, more experienced and professional players and we simply have to get him to stay at the club, or we will simply be seen as a selling club that regularly sells its best players season after season. Sagna has already previously spoke out about his dissatisfaction with the club's transfer business, and he may already have his eyes on a move away from the club, which could be another massive blow for us.
There was more news on Jack, as Wenger attempted to defend himself from criticism he was met with over team selection on Saturday. The boss highlight that Jack had had a slight scare over an issue with his ankle.
“He had a little bit of inflammation of scar tissue but it’s nothing. It’s very minor. The rest will help him get rid of it. Apart from that, he has done very well. He has not played for 17 months. People forget what that mean. Seventeen months in a career is massive, but I’m very happy with the way he is progressing.”
Despite the injury, Jack is expected to continue his recovery against Everton on Wednesday evening. Today Jenkinson and Szczesny discussed the importance of getting 3 points in that game at Goodison Park. Szczesny even referred to it as a "six pointer" during his interview with Arsenal.com.
He continued, saying: “It will be a very good game for us to win. We managed to get three points last year and it was a really tough match. We are outside the top four so our first target is to reach that top four. But our ambitions are much higher than that. We have managed to get a couple of good results recently. It would have been good if we had won on Saturday but we shall take it game by game and hope for the best. We need to climb the table and hopefully do well in the other competitions as well."
With Szczesny back between the sticks recently we have looked a lot more solid defensively, and we have undoubtedly missed his whole-hearted commitment and confidence at time this season. Hopefully we can register three points from Wednesday's game but it will certainly be hard. We have been quite lucky to have a decent record at Goodison Park in recent years, but we have also put in some quality performances, and we will certainly need one of them tomorrow.
Wenger also had to defend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who performances have been somewhat criticised this season for lacking the cutting edge of goals and assists. The French manager highlighted that he is still very young, and without a clear spell in the team it's been hard for him to gain consistency.
He also highlighted that some recent injuries meant that it would take some patience from Gunners fans until we saw Chamberlain back to his best.
“Alex has not played a lot recently,” he said. “He lacks a bit of physical fitness. He tried at Villa and in patches he looked dangerous. He’s learning his trade and he’s a very talented young boy. I believe he will be a great player but at the moment he is learning his job. Basically, he’s 19 years old and there will be ups and downs, of course, but I believe he will be a great player. You need patience with every young player or you don’t bring them out."
That's about it for today, more news and hopefully team news tomorrow.