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Mikel Arteta close to new Arsenal deal?

The captain is close to finishing an extension -- and he's not the only one.

this guy
this guy
Clive Mason

According to John Cross, Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is close to completing a one-year contract extension with the club, which would keep him here at least until the summer of 2016. The deal is likely to be announced officially next week, during the international break, and is the latest in a string of Arsenal players re-upping -- Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla, and Tomas Rosicky all have signed new deals since last season.

Arteta hasn't been quite at his usual standard so far this year, but showed signs of his usual self last weekend against Tottenham Hotspur (before getting injured, or course). Since joining Arsenal on deadline day 2011 he's been a crucial part of the squad, anchoring the midfield and improving the team's overall hair quality. Giving him another year is more likely by far to be a good idea than a bad one, so I'm pretty pleased by this news -- particularly since I'm hoping Arteta will stay at Arsenal in a coaching role after his retirement, and feel like this helps there.

There's another note in that same John Cross story, though.

Arsenal’s next target will be Theo Walcott, who is set to return to full training next week after being out since January with a major knee injury.

The England forward's contract expires in 2016 but the Gunners are confident he will also commit himself to a new deal.

I've actually been concerned about this one for a little while, so hearing news of the club's confidence that Theo is likely to re-sign is a big boost. He's one of our better players, and even with the additions of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez his particular skillset is hard to replicate when he's not around. Also I really don't want to have to hear that awful "Sign Da Ting" song ever again, so hopefully Walcott will sign without much of a fuss.