While there are still three matches for us to somehow find a way past the financial juggernaut that is Man City, there is even better news on the near horizon: it looks all but certain that the talismanic Bukayo Saka and the irrepressible Aaron Ramsdale both look ready to put pen to paper to sign da ting. The devil’s in the details, of course.
Martinelli was the first to ink his new contract, and it’s starting to feel a whole lot different from how it’s felt since, oh, 2005 or thereabouts when we all too often watched helplessly as key players were lured away by the prospect of higher wages and easier paths to silverware.
It’s a new day. Martinelli, Saka, and Saliba have to be among the hottest young prospects around, to to see Martinelli re-commit is heartening. Other young stars are surely assessing their options. There are credible reports that the club hope to announce Saka’s new contract before season’s end. According to The Independent, “It is believed promotional footage to be released alongside the announcement has already been completed and it is a matter or working through the finer details before the deal is finalised.” In other words, all that’s left is for L’il Chili to choose the songs playing in the background to the promo. These are serious decisions, after all.
Along similar lines, Aaron Ramsdale looks likely to sign a new contract that would see him earn a pay rise that reflects his status as one of the best keepers in the Prem. At a risk of disrespecting Ramsdale, it might be even more mouth-watering to learn that the club hope to also announce a new contract for Saliba, whose absence has only accentuated his value to the club.
These are three players still plumbing the depths of their potential. They’re the kind of players we used to see leave at just this point in their careers. To see news that all three of them are ready to re-commit the next five years—their best years, it’s worth adding—amounts to a seismic shift. Just a few years ago, we might have steeling ourselves for the inevitable announcement that players of their calibre had sealed a move to Man City, Barcelona, or Chelsea. Those days may finally be over. If Saka, Saliba, and Ramsdale join Martinelli in signing new contracts, that bodes well for others such as Ødegaard, White, Jesus, and others. It also sends out a beacon to future transfer-targets. Surely, the likes of Declan Rice, Moises Caicedo, Marc Guéhi, and others will see these headlines and ruminate.
We’re no longer a selling club with no ambition. We’re a club on a mission. We’re putting the band back together. It’s a quest. We’re like that guy…that Spanish guy. He fought the windmill. The Man of La Mancha?
Nevermind. The point here is that we’re on the verge of something much larger than simply re-signing a few important players to new contracts. It’s dominoes. Each player to re-sign convinces the next one to re-sign. Each re-signing attracts the attention of transfer-targets like moths to a flame. If we can in fact announce these new contracts before the summer window officially opens. well, let’s just say that certain selling clubs with no ambition will see their own talismans flit away for fees far below that said clubs have declared.
In other words, we’re just getting started…