Bukayo Saka does not get enough credit. Maybe it’s Gabriel Martinelli’s rip-roaring entrance to the Premier League, or Arsenal’s beyond sub-par performance this season. The fact remains the same: the 18-year-old is damn good and today’s excellent display against Newcastle just emphasises that.
According to The Telegraph, Arsenal have been unable to make a break through in contract negotiations. This comes in light of a recent interest from other clubs across the Premier League and further afar. The winger, turn full-back, does not have long left on his current contract. Whether he is looking to move is another question. Though it’s clear now that Mikel Arteta sees him as a part of his plans.
Bukayo Saka – Left-back or further forward?
Beginning the season as a winger, Bukayo Saka has seen himself emerge into a flourishing left-back, following a lack of cover in that area. His prowess going forward has been combined with surprisingly competent defensive attributes. Saka averages almost two tackles per game, but also five assists. A good balance.
The Gunners’ youth product has particularly flourished in the Europa League. Granted the quality of opposition isn’t anywhere near the Premier League. Yet 2 goals and 4 assists in just 4 appearances is outstanding. A staggering 2.8 shots and 3 passes per game too. 18 years old and yet no-one is giving him the plaudits like the Greenwoods and Martinellis of the world.
This has led Arsenal fans across all platforms to suggest he could have a more permanent role in the back line. However, with Kieran Tierney soon to be returning from injury, it is hard to see how this would work. Saka could do a job there, but better than the mercurial Scotsman? Despite the assists, Tierney’s final ball is considerably better than Saka’s.
His brilliant assist today against the Magpies suggests he has a future in a wide role. Whether that be as a winger or a fullback is yet to be seen. A link to his stats in Arsenal’s 4-0 win HERE just to highlight how well he played going forward.
Furthermore, with rumours of Aubameyang departing North London, there could be a space for the England U19 international. This is assuming Martinelli shifts into his preferred central striker role. Overall, we think Bukayo should stick to the left-wing. His dynamite pace and fast feet strike fear into the hearts of defences up and down the league. That should not be lost. Confidence is crucial as a wide player. Being able to lose the ball and just forget about it. Saka may have some work to do. He averages two assists per game in the Europa League, yet just one in the bright lights of England’s top division.
I am just happy to see a Hale End graduate prove himself at entrance level. It’s been criminal the lack of support that he has attained across the football world. When a loan move was a possibility, Saka has stepped up and pushed himself right through to the first team. Martinelli has overshadowed him this season, but Bukayo deserves a heavy amount of praise. Playing as a makeshift left back at 18-years-old in his first full season. It really is remarkable.
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