Belfast Telegraph

Wenger confident Wilshere will sign new Arsenal deal before World Cup

The 26-year-old has firmly re-established himself in the Gunners side in recent months.

Arsene Wenger has revealed Arsenal have offered a “long-term” contract to Jack Wilshere and that his future will be decided before the World Cup.

The Gunners midfielder has less than three months remaining on his current deal and has been delaying signing fresh terms at the Emirates Stadium.

Reports suggest Wilshere has been offered a lower basic salary to remain at Arsenal, with talks seemingly at an impasse despite the contract being on the table for some time.

Having struggled for fitness during the past three years, culminating in spending last season on loan at Bournemouth, the 26-year-old has firmly re-established himself in Wenger’s side in recent months.

That led to an England recall and, although Wilshere was forced to withdraw from the squad for the March friendlies against Holland and Italy with a minor knee injury, Wenger believes the player’s future will be sorted soon.

“I cannot give you any news because I don’t really know what is in his mind,” the Frenchman said when asked for an update on Wilshere’s contract wrangle.

“He has an offer that is on a long-term contract basically, and I hope that at some stage he will sign it.

“I think he will make his decision before the end of the season. he will not want to go to the World Cup and not have settled his situation because that would not be reasonable as well I think.

“He has the freedom to make that decision, he knows I want him to stay.”

Mesut Ozil was in a similar position to Wilshere earlier in the year but signed a vastly-improved deal to end speculation over his own future.

However, with Wilshere’s negotiations taking longer, Wenger insists players cannot simply be paid what they ask for.

“If you think like that, there’s no limitations anywhere,” he said.

Back to work 👊🔴

A post shared by Jack Wilshere (@jackwilshere) on

“As a club. you want the players to stay and to be paid well, and I believe that everybody would agree that we pay our players very well.”

The 68-year-old was more evasive on his own future, claiming his main concern at present is delivering Europa League success, with the first-leg of a tricky semi-final against Atletico Madrid coming up after this weekend’s Premier League visit of West Ham.

“For us it’s absolutely vital to beat them (Atletico) and to have a chance to go into the final and win the competition,” he said.

“We have a big obstacle, a big hurdle in the semi-final. I would even say that Atletico Madrid are seen as the favourites to win the competition, but I believe that at our best, we can beat them.”

As is seemingly always the case at Arsenal, there are other players whose futures remain up in the air.

None so much as Santi Cazorla, who has not played in 18 months since suffering an ankle injury.

Despite his absence, the Spaniard was handed a one-year extension last summer and Wenger admits a new deal could be offered even though he has not kicked a ball for the Gunners since October 2016.

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Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad – UEFA Champions League – Group A – Emirates Stadium

“The last news I heard is that he is doing very well,” Wenger said after revealing he had not spoken to Cazorla since the Carabao Cup final.

“I hope that certainly he will come back before the end of the season and we an make a check-up of where he stands.

“Can he play again in the Premier League? I don’t know, I have to see how he responds to his injury. Honestly, I don’t know. I hope yes, but I don’t know.”

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