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Martin Ødegaard, Ben White in Arsenal contract extension negotiations

The pair are the final two pieces of the club’s core who could do with contract extensions.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal have opened contract extension negotiations with both Martin Ødegaard and Ben White, reports Charles Watts. The Norwegian’s current contract takes him through the end of the 2024-25 season, although it reportedly contains an option for an additional year. White’s expires after the 2025-26 season.

The pair are the last remaining members of the young core in North London that have not been tied to the club through 2027 (and beyond). Over the past year, Arsenal have extended Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, and William Saliba. The club have ensured that the nucleus of young talent they’ve accumulated will be able to grow, develop, and compete together for several more seasons.

The extensions may not seem all that pressing, but pushing contract expiration further into the future helps fend off interest from other clubs. It also protects the players’ value should someone come in for them. They’ll be no discounts because a guy might leave soon. You want one of Arsenal’s core, you’re paying full freight.

There’s also talk of “rewarding” Ødegaard and White for excellent seasons. I’d rephrase that a bit. It’s generally bad business to pay players for past performance. Rather, pay rises should be based on expectations of continued performance and future improvement. Through that lens, both players richly deserve, well, richer contracts. They’re both entering their prime footballing years and should get better over the next few seasons.

Arsenal are well-positioned to work on contracts so far into the future and give key players higher wages because the club did the hard work to reset the roster and pay scale. Now, the star players and biggest contributors are making the most rather than older players on bloated contracts. The Ødegaard and Ben White extensions, whenever they’re signed, will move that pair into the appropriate category on the wage ladder, which will keep everyone happy with how much they’re making.