Martin Keown reacts to Bukayo Saka deal and tells Arsenal to prioritise transfer move for top midfielder

Bukayo Saka poses with an Arsenal shirt at the Emirates after signing a new long-term contract
Bukayo Saka committed his long-term future to Arsenal this week (Picture: Getty)

Martin Keown says he’s ‘really pleased’ that Mikel Arteta has managed to tie down Bukayo Saka with a new deal and has urged Arsenal to now turn their attentions to signing a top midfielder.

The Gunners have been locked in negotiations to agree extensions for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Saka in recent weeks and the latter put pen to paper on a new long-term contract on Wednesday.

It’s understood the versatile 18-year-old midfielder, who was previously on wages of £7,000-a-week, has committed to four more years at the Emirates.

Though Keown believes the sagas surrounding Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil still leave Arsenal ‘in a little bit of a mess’, he’s delighted that Saka finally put an end to the uncertainty over his future this week.

The ex-Arsenal defender told BT Sport: ‘I’m really pleased that they have now tied up a deal, it should never have gone this long for me.

‘We can’t ignore the talent that is coming through the football club at this moment.

‘But it’s just the beginning and we need to add to that.

‘Try to keep Aubameyang if we can. The Ozil saga is still running. It can be, if you look at it, a little bit of a mess, but I’ll take the positives.’

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Martin Keown hopes the Gunners concentrate on landing a central midfielder (Picture: Getty)

Keown remains less than convinced by Arteta’s defensive options but hopes the club focus on bringing in a quality midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira or Gilberto Silva this summer.

Asked what other ‘building blocks’ Arsenal need to return to the top, Keown responded: ‘Well there are many, and it’s really about getting that DNA back into the players, that toughness, that will to win, raising the bar really.

‘Defensively we know that there are a lot of problems, Arsenal are carrying five or six central defenders – which ones are good enough? Who’s going to be the partnership?

‘Today it’s a three, often it’s a four that they play there.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga
Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey has been heavily linked with Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

‘And then the middle of the park: I don’t think we’ve really had a top midfield player so to speak that can control things for us since the Vieira days, the Gilberto Silva days.

‘So let’s try and get a top midfield player into that position and I’m assuming that is what the club is working towards doing.’

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