Arsene Wenger confirmed that contract talks with Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will begin before the end of December.
Wilshere's current deal expires at the end of the season, meaning Arsenal face the prospect of losing the England international on a free transfer, and this week the 25-year-old said talks had yet to begin over an extension.
Injuries have seriously curtailed Wilshere's development over the last few years, and Wednesday's 0-0 draw with West Ham was his first Premier League start of the season.
Wenger praised Wilshere's performance after that match at the London Stadium, with the playmaker looking sharp and bright in midfield.
Wenger: "Jack's an Arsenal man - for him it's important to feel happy here" pic.twitter.com/p9kXKWsu1D— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 15, 2017
And when it was put to the Frenchman that Wilshere's showing could not have done his contract chances any harm, Wenger told reporters: "That's for sure.
"Yeah, we will talk to him. I said at the end of December, and we are at the start of December now, so it [discussions] is not far off.
"I wanted to see how he could contribute and see how he could last physically. I consider him an Arsenal man, but it's also important for him to feel happy here."
Wenger confirmed that Aaron Ramsey's hamstring injury is likely to keep him out for up to three weeks, though he did not commit to giving Wilshere an extended run of games in his absence, with Newcastle United visiting on Saturday.
"I don't know yet," Wenger said. "I rotate a little at the moment, so we will see how everybody recovers [in training].
"We play again on Tuesday, so we have four games in basically nine days so I have to assess. But he has done well in the game he played.
"Yes, overall it was an encouraging performance. He suffered a little in the last 20 minutes, but we were in the position where we needed to attack, so I left him on. He has been very patient and working hard."
21. April 2018
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