Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott have both agreed to contract extension, keeping them at the club beyond this season. Both had one year left on their previous deals, meaning that they would have been available for a Bosman next summer.
Arsene Wenger spoke to the club’s website about contract extensions, acknowledging the importance of both players to the squad.
“We’re delighted to have extended the contracts of Santi and Theo. Both are top quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad.
“As well as their huge contributions on the pitch, they both have a great deal of experience and are very popular off the pitch. We’re pleased with them both signing contract extensions, as it provides our squad with further stability of quality.”
Walcott’s contract has been extended for a further four seasons at £140,000 per week. Earlier this year it seemed that Walcott’s contract situation would become a protracted saga between club and player. Walcott is Arsenal’s longest serving player and is the leading club scorer amongst players at the club with 76 goals. He will provide back up at all three forward positions this season and will be looking to score more than 15 goals at the very least.
— Theo Walcott (@theowalcott) July 31, 2015
It is somewhat surprising to see Arsenal give Walcott such a significant pay raise considering that he was out injured for a year and has scored 20 goals in a season only once. Wenger clearly is confident that Walcott will be back to his best this season and scoring goals like he did in 2012/2013. His movement and pace is unique to the squad and he provides Arsenal with a different option at left or right wing as well as striker.
Cazorla’s contract extension is believed to be for two years, meaning his new deal will expire in July 2017. The Spaniard had been linked with a return to Spain either this season or next season. Cazorla was instrumental in Arsenal’s turn around the last half the last season. He excelled in a deeper role, allowing Arsenal to transition from defense to attack quickly.
— Santi Cazorla (@19SCazorla) July 31, 2015
Both players will be integral to the squad if Arsenal is to mount a serious and sustained title challenge this season. Arsenal’s first game of the season is on August 8th against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.