sport

Wenger: New deals imminent

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping to conclude contract negotiations with four senior players.

Thomas Vermaelen has seen his chances limited this season due to the form of centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, with the Belgian starting just three Premier League games.

However, Wenger believes the former Ajax defender is worthy of a new deal despite a lack of playing time this term.

"I am ready to extend his contract. We want Thomas Vermaelen to be happy and have the number of games a player of his class deserves," Wenger told arsenal.com.

"On my side, I have a high respect for his qualities and attitudes and I am ready to extend his contract.

"At the moment we're all on board for something this season that is respectable. At the end of the season I can sit down with Thomas and see what he thinks about it."

Vermaelen's replacement Mertesacker is expected to secure a new deal soon, along with right-back Bacary Sagna and 33-year-old Tomas Rosicky.

Wenger revealed: "The new contracts are very close. Not for all of them but for most of them."