By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has started the process of securing some of his star players on new contracts.
In the summer, Samir Nasri was allowed to leave for Manchester City because, according to the manager, Arsenal received a "reasonable price" for a player with one-year left in his contract. FIFA rules would have allowed the midfielder to sign a pre-contract with a new team in January and walk out for free at the end of the season.
The likes of Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Alex Song are in the same situation next summer. Wenger admits the negotiating process is always tricky so he is not wasting any time.
"Yes, this starts now," said Wenger. "We will try to convince them. Our desire is there to do it and we are ready to sit down with them.
"After that we see where we go but the gap on that front has become bigger for us so, today, I cannot say that if we go to the maximum [deal] we are sure to sign a player - even if we do that we are not sure."
However, Wenger is not expecting a repeat of this summer when Nasri and Cesc Fabregas both departed. He believes the former was good business and the latter a specific case.
"I always said that Cesc was a bargain," said Wenger. "We were forced into a situation because for me he is one of the best midfielders in the world and we knew that we would sell him under what he's worth.
"With Nasri at least we got a reasonable price for a player with one year to go."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source