Bakayo Saka started for England last night and if the Press are to be believed he will be a solid fixture in Gareth Southgate’s England team for the rest of the tournament.
It is becoming apparent to the rest of the football world that Arsenal have a major talent here. This past season he was head and shoulders Our best player. At age 19 that is quite a statement. I don’t think We’ve had a standout talent from the Arsenal academy at such a young age since Tony Adams (Cesc Fabregas & Nicholas Anelka were lifted from other academies in my opinion). If he measures up to Big Tone he will be some player.
Unai Emery clearly saw something in Bukayo and gave him his first senior appearance. For all the things Unai got wrong at Arsenal he clearly got that one right.
What makes Saka stand out in England is his talent with both his left and right feet. He can use both equally well, which can be a nightmare to defend against. He may not be the fastest player, but he has a turn of pace and can dribble well. His crossing is also decent. Maybe where he is lacking at the moment is his finishing, but he has time to improve on that.
Despite his ability to play in many positions I see him as destined to play off a striker as an inside right or inside left (George Best?). He has too much talent to be stuck on the wing and his attacking ability would be wasted in midfield or defence.
Now the problem: Showcasing his talents on the International stage at Euro2020 (21 surely?) will attract interest from other teams. He is tied down to a 3 year contract, but as seen with Harry Kane this is no guarantee that a player will stay put. In the coming years we will need to match his ambition to keep him at the Club.
The best comparison in the England set up is Phil Foden (nice shiny gnashers). He is 2 years older than Saka and worth about £80 million according to Transfermarkt. He’s a good player, but very left footed, so what would that make Saka worth? If Man City with their Abu Dhabi vanity project money offer £150 million could we hold out? I hope so.
This lad is potentially world class. He needs to be the beating heart of the Arsenal team over the coming years with support from Smith Rowe, Tierney and Partey. Keep these players together and we might be back in the big time…
A piece from Pete the Thirst – thank you from RC78 and RockyLives and LBG