Thomas Partey, Mikel Arteta and the six Arsenal contract decisions Edu Gaspar must still make

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with midfielder Thomas Partey
-Credit: (Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Arsenal have been extremely proactive in tying down their best players to new contracts in recent years. It has left the core of the squad in a promising position heading into a fourth permanent season.

Ben White joined Martin Odegaard and William Saliba in committing themselves to the club club in the last 12 months whilst Aaron Ramsdale, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Gabriel Magalhaes have also signed fresh contracts.

Many of the group are from the 2021 summer window that truly started the Arteta refresh properly and their success as a group has been reflected with new deals off the pitch as well as improving results on it. Now the Gunners are looking to go a step further.

In what promises to be a summer of change in the squad as Arteta and sporting director Edu Gaspar seek to hunt down Manchester City as well as extend the gap to their rivals below them, contracts are of the utmost importance. In a world increasingly governed by financial regulation, Arsenal need to find every penny they can to generate funds for elite-level incoming.

That won't be helped by the exits of Cedric Soares and Mohamed Elneny. Both players have confirmed their exits this summer as they reach the end of their contract.

Elneny joined in 2016 for £10million whilst Cedric arrived from Southampton for free after an initial loan in 2020. The pair are both in their 30s and have had a limited role to play in recent years but still depart without bringing in any money to the club.

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Karl Hein is the only other immediate worry for the club with his deal running out next month. The young goalkeeper - who came in from Estonian outfit Nomme in 2018 - will be free to leave the club himself.

He has been an understudy to both Ramsdale and David Raya this season and is unlikely to be promoted to the first-team. The club are player are both open to offers, although unlike Elneny and Cedric, no decision has been made.

Outside of Raya's loan, which will become permanent, there is nothing left to worry about for 2024. The next 12 months will hold some tricky calls one way or another though.

Jorginho has extended his stay for another year but within six months will be able to negotiate a pre-contract with clubs outside of England. Arsenal will have to already be monitoring his position in the squad and decide swiftly how to move forward with the Italian as he enters he nears his mid-30s and becomes an outlier in the group.

The biggest dilemma, though, is with Thomas Partey. His deal also ends next summer and, like Jorginho, will be available to start planning an exit for nothing come January. With the club plotting a move for another midfielder to go alongside Declan Rice, and Partey's fitness becoming an issue, they must now decide whether to cash in this year, offer him a deal for several seasons, or risk letting him go.

It is an uncomfortable scenario to be in and Arsenal will therefore be keen not to let the same happen with a host of their other squad players. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emile Smith Rowe, and Ramsdale all have their current deals ending in 2026.

Although still a while off now, they will need to be active in keeping on top of these situations so as to save the possible embarrassment of not recouping true market value for their players. There is no surprise that Arsenal will welcome possible transfers for the latter duo as well as Eddie Nketiah and Nelson, who's contracts have until 2027.

Arsenal are still in control of the fates of these players but must keep up the proactive efforts to ensure that the possible ramifications don't start to impact their current activities.

Perhaps above all else the club must also sit down with their manager too. Arteta, like Pep Guardiola, will be entering his final year contracted. Although this is common practice with coaches, the merry-go-round of names this summer demonstrates just how precarious things can be.

Arteta admitted at the end of last season that he would not be discussing the matter until after the final game against Everton. Arsenal now have a clear run to nail down the leader of the project but must make certain of those under him to keep everything together.