The Gunners academy graduate is very much the poster boy over at the Emirates but Arsenal’s hierarchy could be sending him a message with their latest transfer pursuit
Once the Manchester City forward is secured, the Gunners are reportedly planning to turn their attentions to Leeds United winger Raphinha. Mikel Arteta’s men have already bid once for the Brazilian, but the Elland Road hierarchy are expected to hold out for at least £65million.
Many sections of the Arsenal faithful have questioned why the club seem willing to spend so much on the former Rennes wide-man when they already have one of the brightest young right-sided forwards in Bukayo Saka. The England international has been nothing short of a revelation since he was handed his Gunners debut by Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery.
At times, the academy graduate has carried the club’s fortunes on his back at such a young age. Saka was voted Arsenal’s player of the season last term by the fans – his stock could barely be any higher. With that in mind, the Gunners may be viewing those facts through a slightly different lens.
Saka has two years left to run on his current deal, ensuring that while the club are hardly cornered into a position where they need to think about cashing in just yet, it will undoubtedly be a lingering question mark in the back of the mind of those in the boardroom.
Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool contract expires in 12 months’ time and Jurgen Klopp will surely be on the prowl for someone to fill that vacant right-sided forward slot – who better than a 20-year-old who already knows what it takes to operate under immense pressure for both club and country? Arsenal have to be ready for interest in their poster boy to ramp up as the months go by.
Reports have already emerged early on this window, with the odd rumour linking Saka with a switch to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. That is the calibre he can operate at, that is how he is viewed by the big boys of the English top-flight – but Pep Guardiola’s side distanced themselves and insisted their priorities lay elsewhere this summer.
Note, they did not rule out a move for Saka in the future, just like Liverpool will surely come knocking – Arsenal have to open negotiations with their number seven sooner rather than later. When that day does come, they will be negotiating with an agent they know all too well.
Saka is represented by the same agency that represents both Folarin Balogun and Eddie Nketiah. Both of those fellow Arsenal academy graduates were the subject of lengthy contract sagas that ended up with both players getting the kind of wages they wanted.
Arsenal’s pursuit and potential acquisition of Raphinha could therefore be perceived as a warning to Saka and his team that, before they open negotiations, the club will not be held to ransom for huge wages when they have a ready-made, more experienced player waiting in the wings to replace him.