Saliba and Saka contract UPDATES, Gunners target Rice, £70m Raphinha linked

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William Saliba is reportedly set to sign a new contract by the end of the month.

The French defender is reportedly wanting a pay raise before signing a new contract, with his current deal expiring in 2024.

The 21-year-old was one of Arsenal’s stars of the season but it’s believed there are still issues that need to be addressed before he can put pen to paper.

Morning Arsenal fans

William Saliba wants a big raise and the Gunners would rather sign Martin Zubimendi than Moises Caicedo.

That’s the pinnacle of gossip in the Emirates as the leaders warm up for tomorrow’s Prem trip to Fulham.

It is claimed that Saliba is close to succeeding Gabriel Martinelli by instigating a new long-term deal.

But as talks continue, the Frenchman reportedly wants a “significant” wage increase.

England winger Bukayo Saka is also likely to extend his contract until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad’s Spaniard Zubimendi and West Ham’s England ace Declan Rice are ranked in midfield as the summer’s transfer priorities.

Zubimendi is believed to have a release clause of around £52.5million, which would also make him far cheaper than another previous target, Brighton’s Caicedo.

And Barcelona winger Raphinha could cost £70m in the summer if the Gunners or Manchester United go after the ex-Leeds hero.

Boss Mikel Arteta is urging fans to be patient as Gabriel Jesus gets closer to his return.

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The Brazil forward is bubbly in training following knee surgery and should be ready by the end of March.

Finally, Arsenal could sell Reims on loan Folarin Balogun for just £17.5m-22m.

Ex-Red Devils hero reveals he’s an Arsenal fan

Former Manchester United midfielder Kieran Richardson has admitted he is an Arsenal fan and will buy a season ticket next season.

The former Sunderland star, 38, also revealed it was only after he quit playing in 2016 that he really started enjoying football.

He told Man Utd News: “I watch so much football now – I haven’t watched it much as a footballer – I didn’t care.

“Now as someone who doesn’t play, I enjoy being an Arsenal fan – I’m buying a season ticket next season.

“I’m an Arsenal fan but when you play for a club you don’t think of Arsenal. Whatever club you’re with, that’s the team you drive for.

“I knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup and scored against them.”

Utd and Arsenal said Raphinha would cost £70m

Barcelona winger Raphinha would reportedly cost his Premier League admirers £70million in the summer.

Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as Chelsea, are said to have shown interest in the ex-Leeds favourite.

The 26-year-old is increasingly being advised to leave the Nou Camp after just one season.

Barca need to cut spending and Raphinha’s unpredictable form leaves him vulnerable.

Despite this, he has netted eight goals and nine assists for the LaLiga leaders in all competitions.

Prem stars mull BBC interview boycott

Prem stars could reportedly boycott interviews with BBC before and after games in solidarity with Gary Lineker.

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The hosts of the Match of the Day staged a mutiny tonight after the Beeb ripped Lineker off the air over the Nazi tweet row – throwing the flagship show into chaos.

Ian Wright and Alan Shearer walked out of “solidarity” with Lineker, 62, who had compared the government’s language about crackdown on small boats to the language of 1930s Germany.

The BBC had to struggle to find a panel for the show as other stars self-excluded.

Now Times journalist Henry Winters has claimed that several players may also boycott interviews through the channel.

He tweeted: “Football’s backlash against @BBC is intensifying over treatment of @GaryLineker. Many @premierleague players are keen to support ex-pro pundits retiring from @BBCMOTD. And @PFA will also fully support players facing fines for failing to comply with required carry obligations.”

Saliba wants a significant salary increase

William Saliba wants a hefty pay rise to succeed Gabriel Martinelli in signing a new long-term Arsenal deal.

That’s journalist Ben Jacobs’ claim as boss Mikel Arteta tries to tie up his starlets.

Central defender Saliba and England winger Bukayo Saka are his priorities.

And Jacobs wrote in GiveMeSport: “Arsenal’s immediate priority was to fend off interest at a time when Saliba was still uncertain and then give it a chance.

“And we will now see the talks intensify because it is clear Arsenal see Saliba as an integral part.

“Now it’s a matter of agreeing terms. Saliba want a significant pay rise while Arsenal are hoping for a slightly longer deal than all parties originally anticipated.

“Discussions are ongoing but Arsenal are calm about the situation. The full expectation remains that Saliba will extend.”

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