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Cazorla and Ramsey 'very close' to new deals

ESPN staff
March 7, 2014 « Wilshere's woe gets worse | Chartbeat test »
Aaron Ramsey looks set to return in time for the north London derby against Tottenham © Getty Images
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are close to agreeing lucrative new contracts at the club.

Reports have suggested the pair will follow team-mates Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky in penning new deals at the Emirates and Wenger is hopeful of announcing the deals imminently.

"We are very close [to new contracts for Cazorla and Ramsey], very close," said Wenger, who looks set to lose defender Bacary Sagna on a free transfer next summer after protracted negotiations.

Ramsey has been struggling with a persistent thigh injury and could feel a pressure to return quickly now fellow midfielder Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for the next eight weeks with a broken foot.

But Wenger is confident he will be fit to return for the north London derby against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on March 16.

"Ramsey is one week away," he said. "The next two games are coming too soon, the weekend after he should be available.

Despite the injury problems in midfield, Wenger will not consider resting key players for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Everton.

His side face a crucial Champions League clash against Bayern Munich just three days later, but they need to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit at the Allianz Arena and the Frenchman claims the FA Cup is his priority.

"It's the quarter-final of the FA Cup. We want to do well and we want to qualify and to win," he said.

"This [FA Cup] is one of the priorities. The top priority is always to do well in the Premier League. The FA Cup is our next game and after a disappointing result at Stoke, we have to come back with a strong response. The FA Cup is our absolute priority just because it is our next game.

"Seven changes may be too much [for the upcoming game against Everton]. We will consider the team that has a good chance to win tomorrow, that's all."

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