Arteta: Saka becoming a complete player

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Mikel Arteta says Bukayo Saka is becoming a ‘complete player’ thanks to the hard work he puts in on the training ground.

Fielded on the right side of the Spaniard’s attack against Southampton, the England international made two decisive contributions as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners at Saint Mary’s.

First, he raced onto an Alex Lacazette through ball and rounded keeper Alex McCarthy to put the Gunners ahead before the break; an action he later revealed was pre-planned. He then combined with the Frenchman again with 18 minutes remaining, this time turning provider with a teasing cross that the striker bundled home.

Four goals and two assists in his last six Premier League appearances underline that Saka is a man in form with some drawing comparisons to the quality of national team colleague Raheem Sterling.

“Bukayo is doing really well and is always asking to train more and improve in areas that he can do better,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference.

“That was certainly one, at producing the final bit in the box to score or assist, and he’s doing that much more often.

“He’s able to do that with the work he has put in and the intelligence he’s shown on the pitch, and with the capacity he has to understand the game from different positions. He becomes a really complete player.”

Saka’s versatility is something that has helped him earn minutes since he broke through the ranks under Unai Emery. While his current stint on the right is proving very fruitful, Arteta admits that there will be times when he leans on the player at left-back again if he’s short in that part of the pitch.

“I think he’s much better when he plays in the last line of our attack,” said Arteta.

“The truth is that we have only one left-footed full back and sometimes we’ll have to use him there. It’s good for his development as well to play there.

“Last season he played a lot of games there and became a much better player. He’s got that talent and he’s always keen to play in different positions. But obviously in certain moments, we have to try to find some stability for him. We just need to focus on where we are heading with him.”

Arteta also believes that regular minutes is helping Saka grow in stature within the camp. While he comes across as a quiet lad, he’s starting to develop a confidence on the pitch that sets the tone for his teammates. He’s becoming a leader.

“He’s got that,” said Arteta. “He’s really humble, really respectful but at the same time he’s got that character within him and on the pitch he can demand the ball.

“He can make actions and decisions that is not very usual at his age. That’s something that is great because we need that leadership and he’s gaining that with his performances and attitude around the team.”

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Dave

He’s gonna be a world beater this kid

Paul

Violence is not the answer

Tapps

already is!

Duno

Inject it into my veins. I have such high hopes for him. He’s got everything to be at the very top. Bring us that UCL lad, and forever become a legend.

Daveo

The crazy thing is he is already the most complete player in this squad…AT 19 YEARS OLD! Pace-check, defense-check, strength-check, technique-check, vision-check, workrate-check, two footed-check, finishing-check, passing-check, crossing-check. Not even Auba and Laca are that well rounded. Maybe Partey, but he’s a different position. Special player.

Vic Lin

On top of al these, he’s such a team player. Link up very well with all the teammates. Can see that he’s so well like by the team.

Daveo

And his character is impeccable. He seems like one of the most humble footballers I’ve heard speak in many many years. That is perhaps the most underrated part of him. I just freaking love him.

YaGunnersYa

And he has the versatility to play either right-wing or left wing-back when required. Notwithstanding the fact that he can score directly from crosses outside the box. What a player we have.

goongot

I remember mbappe getting such praise from arsene in his final years. My god, we have an talent who’s equivalent of mbappe now.

Francesc

His left foot moves like a wand

Goonerrific

Found myself daydreaming about this team in 3 years time – Saka, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Partey, Tierney, Gabriel, Leno certainly have the quality to make us a too European team. Mikel, you just gotta fill the gaps.

Francesc

Tierney Partey Saka can be our tenacious unbreakable diagonal spine

goonshow

Tell you what lads – if Mik can give Odegaard the platform he’s always warranted… and if we can hang onto him after this season – the future could be very, very bright indeed. Cannot wait to see how he pairs with Thomas

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Bukayo Sane

Man Manny

Leroy Saka

C.B.

InSane.

Fezec

His ceiling is higher.

Cristibukayo Sakano.

C.B.

I believe the better comparison is Messi-er.

loose_cannon

Bukayo Kaka

goonshow

Rosakay

YaGunnersYa

Bergkayo Saka

Eddy F

I hate the comparison, but his profile and development pathway seems very similar to Gareth Bale.

Started as a slight left back, before becoming a pacey and tricky winger before bulking up to score a huge amount of goals.

Just gotta stop the Spanish clubs coming in to poach him, and I feel like we’ll need champions league football to have a chance of that.

bestie

I feel like we should go hard on offering him a good new deal this summer. Offer five years and a wage commensurate with his standing as a key first team player, and it becomes harder to turn down when he still has 3 years left. Much as I loathe to offer any acknowledgement to that lot down the road, it’s how they avoid any discussions about selling their better talents when developing: don’t wait for them to be down to two years, when the endgame is in sight for them.

TeeCee

Saka really needs to work on his diving if he’s to compete with Bale.

YaGunnersYa

Probably on his golf skills too. Thankfully our Bukayo is more focused on his football.

Harding

He makes the difficult look so easy! Almost a little emotional when he slotted the 2nd, this boy is so so talented!

Daveo

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking when he rounded the keeper he was going to take another touch that would have given the defenders time to cover the goal, but that rapid finish, off-balance on his so-called “weaker foot” from a wide angle right into the middle of the goal. That was special. And that’s without getting into his steal and one-touch, first time ball to Partey which set the 1st goal in motion, his inch perfect cross on his so-called “weaker foot” for the 3rd, and the perfectly timed run and touch he made for his goal (great… Read more »

No foot Norbert

He seemed too off balance to take another touch to me. He made the right choice anyway

C.B.

Left back and right wing in the PL at the age of 19! And starring at both. Anyone else ever done that?

Quick, scores, clever.

Rich

Saka is improving all the time, his interview was really good last night as well It’s been hard to get on board with most of these players over the past few years But It’s been easy falling in love with this guy He’s a joy to watch, our most talented player since Cazorla This doesn’t feel like a purple patch, this just looks like his level, he glides past defenders, he’s two footed, with is rare in a left footed player Direct, quick feet. quick brain, and now he knows he can score as well We need to remember he’s… Read more »

Man Manny

I see the Saka Effect felt right down to youngest academy lad. They have a living, breathing motivation right there in front of them.
“If you are good enough, you will play for this club.”
I fully expect many more Sakas to emerge in the near future…inspired by his meteoric rise.

Savage

So far his injury record has been pretty clean. We’ve had too many hot prospects with stuttering careers.

Wonky Krankbutton

Shhhhhh!

Name*

One hopes that not only does Bukayo Saka stay at the club for at least 12 more years, but that he is managed carefully enough till his physique consolidates and after, so that he never suffers a major injury. He could end up banging in the goals past Cristiano Ronaldo age then.

Alex

Reminds me of RVP’s approach – “am I the best in the world yet? No? Why not, what can I do?”

Also – that assist was really incredible and hard to overstate. First time, wrong foot and the corridor he was aiming at had zero margin for error to avoid the defenders, the keeper and reach Laca perfectly.

1st name down on my team sheet. We should get a left back in and let him do what he’s best at.

Swerve

Mbappe level potential forget the other comparisons. All very good players but this guy is a potential world beater.

Fatgooner

When it comes to Saka I see trouble ahead. This kid’s so good that I think we’re gonna have a real problem in keeping him. Before long, I can see the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and the other massive European clubs making huge bids for him. Then what do we do? Do we take the money and use it to develop the rest of the squad? Or do we try to keep Saka and build a world-class team around him? And will he want to stay at a club like ours with limited ambition? I just hope he doesn’t… Read more »

Tapps

Not quite “worse of all” – but I can’t see him going to play in Middlesex.

MeSoHornsey

No chance. He’s grounded. He’s a genuine Arsenal fan. And he’s witnessed first hand how Denis Suarez, Dani Ceballos and now Odegaard have been snapped up , chewed and spat out by the ‘massive European clubs’. I can see him spending all his peak years at Arsenal.

loose_cannon

The solution to that problem is to keep improving ourselves, and we’re doing that to an extent with signings like Partey and Tierney. Just need to keep finding players like that and moving on deadwood.

MojoWillnent

A complete Premier League player by age 20–that isn’t something you see very often. Also a wonderful kid.

He’s the best in the league for his age group in about 4 or 5 different positions. Proverbial ‘generational talent’? We’ll know very soon…

Either way, Hale End is the biggest positive at this moment of the club’s evolution.

TotsOfJack

We also need to remember he’s still a kid. When he eventually goes through a bad spell, as does every player, we need to get behind him and not rip him up, as our fanbase is so prone to doing.

Ozil'sShadow

Dear Porn Industry,

Hands off Saka. He is doing a job for The Arsenal.