While the Premier League soccer season has officially begun, the transfer window is still open. That creates somewhat of an awkward situation where supporters are watching matches through the lens of arrivals and departures. Should a team struggle to score, for example, then a new striker needs to arrive ASAP. If the defense keeps a clean sheet, then maybe that spare right-back can be sold after all.
Arsenal supporters, however, might not see any more players arrive during this window. During an appearance on NBC’s Premier League coverage David Orenstein revealed that the Gunners would like to add a winger, but that move could be dependent on the departure of Nicolas Pepe.
Although that could sound like bad news — shifting Pepe won’t be easy — there was an invaluable nugget within Orenstein’s report. Arsenal, it seems, are getting serious about extending Bukayo Saka.
A Bukayo Saka extension is on Arsenal’s radar, according to David Orenstein
While Arsenal have had a solid transfer window so far (at least from an incoming perspective), some supporters still hold reservations about the club’s depth. Through that lens, David Orenstein’s latest update was somewhat of a mixed bag.
“They want to do more business. I think they want to add a winger to what they’ve got,” the Athletic insider said during an appearance during NBC’s Premier League coverage. “And if they manage to get somebody in, I think they will be pretty happy. There’ll be some outgoings as well … It could depend on Pepe leaving the club.”
That might not sound too bad, but the prospect of tying things to Pepe could be tricky. The Ivorian hasn’t consistently impressed since moving to London, which would probably rule out a direct sale. A loan could be on the table, but the winger’s wages could complicate things.
Orenstein had a similar update about Youri Tielemans, who has also been linked to the Gunners. “There’s no movement on that one yet,” he explained. “And I think Arsenal would need to let someone go if they’re to bring someone in.”
After all of that less than ideal news, however, the insider did slip one positive nugget into his Arsenal update.
“And one of the other pieces of business of sorts they’re looking to do this summer is to renew the contract of Bukayo Saka,” Ornstein added. “That is a key priority for Arsenal.”
While there wasn’t much detail to that update, the fact that Ornstein mentioned it at all should be encouraging for Arsenal supporters. For better or worse, the former BCC insider isn’t one to speculate; he’s more one to confirm a piece of business than anything else. If he’s reporting that the Gunners’ brass are focused on getting Saka to sign a new contract, that means 1) he’s been told that on good authority and 2) someone, most likely the club, wants the news out there.
If you combine that with the fact that Saka recent celebrations — he tapped the badge during the Emirates Cup and pulled at the front of his jersey after setting up an own goal against Crystal Palace — it seems like things could be moving in the right direction. There’s always time for a twist or two, especially since we’re talking about Arsenal, but getting the young winger signed to a long-term extension will be an invaluable piece of business.