Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has criticised the club’s stance when it comes to contract renewals for players aged over 30, and concedes he is unsure about his future at the Emirates Stadium. Arteta, aged 32, will see his current deal expire next summer and will sit down with the club at the end of the season to assess his position.
The Gunners have a policy whereby players of 30-years-old and over are offered only one-year contract extensions when their respective agreements expire - something that has led to the premature departures of a number of stars.
This stance is set to see Bacary Sagna leave Arsenal this summer, with the French full-back set to accept a free transfer to Manchester City, with the Premier League champions prepared to offer him more secure and lucrative terms.
And the prospects for Arteta do not appear to be particularly positive, despite being something of a mainstay in the Arsenal midfield, with the Spaniard likely to be more dispensable than Sagna. Arteta, though, will gauge Arsenal’s opinion following the FA Cup final this weekend.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” Arteta told The Mirror.
"With players over 30 they have a policy and I don’t know if they plan to change it or maintain it. Depending on what their mind is, I will give them my opinion and how I see it.
“Yes, (we’ll talk) this summer and see what they want to do. I’m relaxed because I am only going to stay here or wherever if they really want me to stay and I feel productive.
“The day I don’t feel productive, they day I feel like I can’t perform, I will be the first one to say, 'Listen, you have kids here of 25 much better than me, it’s my time to move on.' They are not going to have a problem with me.”
Arteta is off the belief that all Arsenal players should be judged by what they can contribute to the team, rather than simply upon their longevity. He is confident enough in his own ability to believe he can still provide Arsenal with what they need, and says experience - of which he has plenty - should be a commodity more valued by Arsene Wenger.
“I don’t value players by age, whether it is Tomas Rosicky or Jack Wilshere. I analyse many other things before age,” he added.
“For me, a much bigger asset is someone who has played over 125 games in three years compared to someone who has played 25 and is 20.
“I understand the club’s point of view, 'Mikel is not a £25m player because he is not 22 any more,' but I know what I can give. So it is to find the right balance.
"It is something that we need to analyse and talk about.”