Mikel Arteta has questioned the wisdom of Arsenal's policy on contract extensions for older players, insisting that experience ought to be prized rather than penalised.
The club tend to offer only one-year deals to players over 30 and Arteta, 32, can expect nothing more when he opens negotiations on fresh terms in the summer. The midfielder, who signed from Everton in 2011, is under contract to 2015. He has made 123 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 15 goals.
"I don't value players by age," Said Arteta, who is hoping to start in Saturday's FA Cup final. "Whether it is [Tomas] Rosicky or Jack Wilshere, I analyse many other things before age. Age can be an asset for the club. For me, a much bigger asset is someone who has played 125 games in three years compared to someone who has played 25, if he is 20 years old. That's my opinion.
"I understand the club point of view: 'Mikel is not a £25m player because he is not 22 any more.' But I know what else I can give. So it's to find the right balance between mentalities. We need to analyse and talk about it."
Arteta will make his views clear when he sits down with the manager, Arsène Wenger. "I know the history of this club with players over 30 and I don't know if they are planning to change it or maintain it," Arteta said. "I will give them my opinion. I will talk to them this summer and see what they want to do. I am only going to stay if they really want me to stay and I feel productive. The day I feel like I can't perform, I will be the first one to say: 'Listen, you have kids here, 20, 25, who are much better than me. It's my time to move on.' They're not going to have a problem with me with that."