Mikel Arteta says he is “very optimistic” when it comes to the possibility of Bukayo Saka signing a new deal with Arsenal. The 18-year-old has been a bright light for Arsenal this season, catching the eye during a tough campaign for the club. Nonetheless, there had been concerns that the Gunners would lose Saka, who has just a year left to run on his current deal.

The versatile winger has been linked to the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, but Arteta hopes that a deal will soon be struck to keep him at Arsenal.

Arteta via Evening Standard said: “I am very sure that all will be finished with Bukayo very soon. The club, agents, and communications with the family have been going on for months, and they are very fluent. The player and family are aware of the trust I have in him. I think he’s only showing that each week he’s getting stronger and better, and his consistency level. I’m so excited about the young players that we have. They just need the right environment to explode around them, and even in difficult circumstances, Bukayo does so, which is even more of merit to him.”

Arsenal has experienced a tough start to the return to football after losing both of their opening Premier League games last week. Next, up until Thursday, they face a trip to Southampton where they will win to keep their European qualification hopes alive.

Arsenal currently cranks 10th in the fourth table-in, 11 points off Chelsea-and Arteta knows things need to turn around.

He said: “The Champions League target is too far at the moment before we start winning football games. And my only focus is on going there Thursday, going to Southampton and getting the three points, winning, lifting the players and beginning to believe that we will win again in a row.”

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