Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he hopes to make an announcement in the near future regarding new contracts for defenders Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker as a reward for their good form this season.
Sagna’s current deal is due to expire at the end of the season, with reports linking him with a return to France as both Paris Saint Germain and AS Monaco are said to be interested in his availability. However, at 30 year’s old, Sagna is likely to be offered a one-year contract given Wenger’s infamous reluctance to offer anything more to those who reach that age, meaning Sagna could look elsewhere for a greater security in the form of a long-term offer.
Mertesacker meanwhile has established himself as one of the leading centre-backs in the Premier League, having formed a solid partnership with Laurent Koscielny that has not seen the Gunners lose when the pair have finished a game together across the past two seasons.
Wenger has previously confirmed his desire to tie the German down to a new contract, and speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Fulham, he confirmed he hopes to have some good news in the coming weeks.
“We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon,” said Wenger in connection with Sagna and Maertesacker.
He also discussed the club’s current transfer dealings, dismissing reports that he had made an enquiry for striker Dimitar Berbatov, who will visit the Emirates this weekend, and also likened claims that Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler was spotted at Arsenal’s training base in London Colney to that of an unidentified flying object.
“That's like an unidentified flying object - some see them everywhere,” Wenger joked.
“I am curious as well (to see what will happen), but the transfer period lasts until the 31st of January.
“Are we close to signing anybody? At the moment I would say no.
“Do I rate Berbatov as player? Highly. Have we made any approach to sign Berbatov? No.
“I don't think (we would look to sign Berbatov) because we have (Nicklas) Bendtner who is coming back, we have Yaya Sanogo who is making very good progress in training.
“Of course we have lost Theo Walcott and that for us was a big blow. Hopefully we can compensate, but we have not made any approach (for Berbatov).”
Wenger continued to add that the January window takes a different approach to the summer one, with the majority of deals expected to go through in the final days before the January 31 deadline.
“The transfer market in January is a low key transfer market,” Wenger explained. “There is very reduced activity (generally). There will be some of course, but in the last three days as always.”
Asked whether he would rather get rid of it altogether, Wenger left little doubt in his reply that he is not a fan of the mid-season window.
“You have my signature straight away,” he said.
“Either you scrap it completely, or you leave it open until as long as possible to the last four games.
“It is like running a relay, then in the middle of the relay you change your runners. It gives teams a chance who are already convicted, it gives some teams hope.
“But when I arrived in England, the window was open until April, the whole season, and it was not a problem.
“Why did you change it? To create that high intense activity and suddenly in January everybody becomes nervous.
“Before it was the whole season and it did not create any problem.”
Before the press conference, Arsenal confirmed they have agreed a new multi-million pound commercial deal with telecommunications company Huawei, which will see them become the club's official smartphone partner on a global basis until the end of the 2015/16 season.