ALEX Oxlade-Chamberlain is in line for a significant pay rise at Arsenal this summer, with the club hoping to part fund new deals for existing players by trimming peripheral squad members from their wage bill.
Although Arsenal do have cash reserves of more than £100m, they are close to break-even on their turnover largely because of a wage bill that has increased by around £20m over the past year.
It means that easing the current financial burden on the likes of Manuel Almunia, Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Andrei Arshavin, Carlos Vela, Denilson, Nicklas Bendtner and Chu Young Park will be potentially crucial this summer ahead of key contract negotiations.
Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott are the two highest profile players who are due for contract talks this summer but Oxlade-Chamberlain can also expect the offer of a substantially improved deal.
At the age of 17 and having only ever played in League One when he signed last summer, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been among the lower earners in the first-team squad on around £25,000 a week.
It is understood, however, that there was also an intention to review his salary after his first year.
Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has been both surprised and delighted by his improvement and there is a recognition that Oxlade-Chamberlain should be rewarded accordingly.
He is likely to almost double his weekly salary.
Van Persie has made it clear that he will hold talks only at the end of the season and, although Walcott has held preliminary discussions on his contract, no decisions are expected until the summer.
Arsenal’s scope to offer substantially increased offers, however, will clearly be impacted by their success in offloading those fringe players who have only featured sporadically this season.
In the longer term, Arsenal’s financial position looks healthy, with major new commercial deals likely in 2014 and also further property income of up to £35m.
An £11m deal for Lukas Podolski is likely to be announced within the next week but Mario Gotze, another transfer target, signed a new deal on Tuesday that commits him to Borussia Dortmund until 2016.