Saturday, February 24, 2024

Arteta hails “special guy” Saka on eve of his 200th appearance

Just over five years since making his Arsenal debut for Unai Emery in the Europa League, Bukayo Saka will clock up his 200th appearance for the club when the Gunners take on Luton tomorrow evening. 

Barely a week goes past without the England international hitting a milestone and it’s increasingly getting difficult for Mikel Arteta to find new words to describe a player who has been central to his project at the Emirates. 

All the same, he had a go after once again being pressed on the topic of Saka’s brilliance. 

“It’s not bad at his age,” joked the manager about the Saka’s double century.  

“He’s grown really fast and it shows again the consistency and the availability that he’s had over the last few years, it’s been tremendous and the impact that he’s had on the team is really positive.”

For a club that prides itself on producing homegrown talent, Saka represents a true success story for the Arsenal Academy. He joined the club at seven, made his debut 10 years later and was a first team regular before making it out of his teens. Arteta says it’s been a pleasure watching him evolve and believes everyone involved in his journey should take pride. 

“It’s been like watching a kit get raised, getting older and more mature and evolving. He still has the same humbleness and willingness to become better and better.

“I’ve got to know the people that are close to him in his life and the impact that they have on him. All the academy people that have as worked with him over the years to make him the player he is today; they have to take a huge compliment for who Bukayo is today. 

“Now, we let him be. Bukayo is a special guy we have him with us and hopefully for many years to come.”

He added: At the moment, no [there are no limits for him], because he doesn’t want any limits and he wants more. And the people around him want more and his teammates have a better understanding of what he needs as well. 

“He’s got coaches, staff and a club that wants to push him to become better. I think it’s a good context for him to keep growing.”

So far this season Saka has 97 goal involvements (46 goals and 51 assists) in 199 appearances. Given he spent a decent chunk of his formative time in the first team at left-back to be hitting nearly one-in-two numbers is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Here’s hoping he can add to his tally at Kenilworth Road.

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Daveo

Special guy indeed! Incredible player, one of the best in the world already, and an absolute stand up person. Easily my favourite player on this team and there are a lot of really loveable guys!

The OddFather

97 goal involvements so far this season is far more than I thought!

Henkamp

Should be winning the ballon d’or hands down.

Emi Rates

I remember seeing him for the first time in the Europa League games and thinking how shit we were except this young lad who I’d never seen or heard of before. What a player he’s turned out to be.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I see a bit of De Bruyne on the wing in him this year. Whenever he touches the ball, there is a danger for the opposition. Saka needs to develop the “big ego” a la Zidane (to win finals) not like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Santi’s Phonebox

He does not NEED to develop a big ego, his humble approach to life is more balanced and provides him the strength and platform to persevere against consistent double teaming. He’s fine the way he is, better than fine.

sakaflockaflame

must have missed a lot of games if Saka’s had 199 appearance this season 13 games in

wrightstuff8

He’s the real deal. He’s got it all. We all know this but man are we lucky he’s a gooner. What a credit he is, sky’s the limit for this lad

Gunner88

@AAllenSport there’s a typo there. I think you meant, 97 goal contributions in his Arsenal career rather than this season.

Collibosher

“It’s been like watching a kit get raised…”

Our purrfect player!

O.G

The greatest player to come out of our youth system 💪

wrightstuff8

He might well be …. Certainly on track to be….

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