Bukayo Saka has been one of Arsenal’s bright sparks this season.
The youngster has emerged this season, and even as a deputy left-back has performed ably.
His man of the match performance vs. Newcastle, and praise on Sky Sports no less, have seen his stock rise.
This is amongst contract talks, and rumours of Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea, all looing to pounce for a move.
It’s understandable why Saka could go but I think any fears are at this point minimal. Or perhaps they should be. I say no. This may seem like wishful thinking, but then I don’t believe he will leave at this point.
Firstly, he’s young.
We’ve seen in the past wonder kids like Rooney move at 18 from Everton to Manchester United.
However, Rooney had performed wonderfully in the European championships, before joining Man United.
His stock was thus extraordinarily high, and he was ready at that early stage to grace the world. And he did wondrously.
Rooney at that Euro 2004 tournament had performed well on a world stage and amongst great players. So it’s natural that he would have arrived. Saka has been good but not to that level – well not yet at the least.
Saka has done well, but not to the levels of Rooney in 2004.
So there would be no immediate need to step up.
As he is young, he can bide his time and wait for moves.
Or develop himself further.
Rooney was bossing it against Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool and other top sides in his youth. Saka has done well, granted, but then needs time to develop yet.
At 18, there should be no pressing need to move to win trophies.
I would be more worried if he was in his early twenties, or definitely mid to late 20s.
But as for now – we can be patient as it stands.
Another point is where would he fit in at Man United? He and Daniel James have don well as young wide players. But Martial is still there, who plays in a similar position. What about Rashford? yes, he’s injured currently. But then he can play as a wide man or a number 9. Ighalo has come in lately – and hasn’t started nor played yet.
And it’s likely United will sign a striker in the summer. so his chances up top will be limited.
Could be replaced Shaw at LB? Who knows? Shaw has been maligned by fans and even managers alike – Mourinho and van Gaal at Man United both critiqued his attitude and weight issues, for one.
Chelsea needs another forward, but in wide terms, Willian, Pedro, Mount and Pulisic all can cover there.
Liverpool too has Salah and Mane as world-class options. And Robertson too is world-class as a LB.
Spurs? Dare I say it?
Son is world-class. Moura is good and Bergwijn did well on his debut vs. Man City.
So it’s good in a way that our young players are being recognised.
Arsenal has long produced top players who have been at the highest levels of the game.
However, Saka may well leave but given his age and relative inexperience, I feel he will stay.
Other top sides could not offer him regular football, and as a youth, he has time to evaluate what he wants.
He is playing with top players at Arsenal – Aubameyang is world-class. Ozil may have dipped in performance levels but still is a huge name in the game. Lacazette is a proven player and Pepe is a burgeoning talent.
Either way, I’m happy to see Saka in full flow and could be the latest in a long line of top-quality Arsenal youth products.
We thought that Wilshere could be this – but sadly it didn’t materialise.
Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain had moments – though were Southampton products and not from our academy.
The last good home-grown product we had was – dare I say it – Ashley Cole. As much as we may dislike him, he is one of the best full-backs perhaps of all-time, and he was raised by and won with Arsenal.
Let’s not forget Paul Merson, Kevin Campbell, Tony Adams, Paul Davis, David O’Leary, Ray Parlour, the late, great David Rocastle, Michael Thomas, et al, who were the bedrock of our successes in the 1980s and 1990s.
And Frank Stapleton, Liam Brady, Charlie George, and Pat Rice, from the 1970s.
These players all succeeded at the highest levels and were Arsenal products.
This is something we should take immense pride in – and only Manchester United and Southampton can better this return in recent decades. Our good friends have had far less in the same period – let’s remember one of the home-grown players won leagues and cups with US.
Saka has done well – but it’s about we had another top-class Arsenal youth product. Let’s see how well Saka develops – and he has plenty of forebears to emulate finely.