Arsene Wenger reveals contract talks with emerging Arsenal academy star
PUBLISHED: 10:15 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:15 07 April 2016
2016 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal are planning to hand Alex Iwobi a new long-term contract after his first-team breakthrough.
The Nigerian international has impressed Wenger with some fine performances over the past two months and he earned his first two Premier League starts for the Gunners.
With goals in consecutive games against Everton and Watford, Iwobi has leapfrogged the likes of Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell and is now considered Wenger’s first choice on the left wing.
Iwobi’s emergence as an important first-team player has led to reports suggesting he would be offered a bumper new contract to reward him for his displays in the past few weeks.
And Wenger has confirmed that the 19-year-old is set to sign a new deal, even though his current contract has over three years left to run.
“We are discussing extending him at the moment,” Wenger said. “He is a real Arsenal person because he has been here since he was eight.
“He has three years left at the end of the season anyway but we want to keep him here for longer. He has had some positives in the last two months with how well and quickly he emerged as a player that made a good impact.”
Iwobi was reportedly approached by the FA last month in an attain an attempt to convince the younger to declare his eligibility for the English national team.
At that point he had played only two friendlies for Nigeria, meaning he could switch allegiances, but the 19-year-old elected to play for Nigeria and he has since made his competitive debut for the Super Eagles.
Wenger says he can understand why Iwobi made that decision, and he feels the choice should be respected.
“We have to respect his choice,” Wenger said. “He had the choice between England and Nigeria and he chose Nigeria.
“He could go to the Olympics and the African Nations Cup and travel a bit more than he would with England – we have to accept that.”