Date: 19th December 2012 at 3:57pm
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Arsenal have announced that five of their young British players have signed new deals with the club. Jack Wilshere (20), Aaron Ramsey (21), Kieran Gibbs (23), Carl Jenkinson (20) and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (19) have all signed “long term” deals with the club. Jenkinson is reported to have agreed his contract some time ago. Kieran Gibbs in particular will have been considered a priority as he was 18 months away from the end of his deal, but the move suggests that the manager will put his faith in a young core of Brits to take the club forward.

Arsene Wenger said, “We are delighted that these five young players have all signed new long-term contracts. The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the Club. Jack is certainly the best known, the leader of this group – but the other four players are exceptional footballers, and we`re very happy that we could conclude their new deals at the same time.

Wenger continued: “Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere represent a core of the squad and it`s an extension for a long period for all of them. I`m a strong believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British players, it`s always easier to keep them together and that`s what we`ll try to achieve going forward.”

It is reported that each player is tied down until 2018. The news does rather raise the spectre of Theo Walcott`s contract situation, with his current deal expiring in the summer and also being a Brit under the age of 24. Likewise Emmanuel Frimpong, whose deal runs out in 18 months time has not been included in the crop which suggests, perhaps unsurprisingly, that his future lies elsewhere.