Why Arsenal were wise to offer starboy Saka a shiny new contract

Saka signs

I’m absolutely delighted as I’m sure all Arsenal fans are that Bukayo Saka has signed a new contract till 2027. He is the face of Arsenal Football Club and it is so important to tie down the jewel in the Arsenal crown to a new long term deal. Some may say £300k a week is too much for a 21 year old. However he would get into every PL team in the country including Manchester City and if we didn’t pay him those wages there are plenty of clubs that would.

The money isn’t going to go to his head. Bukayo won’t be frequenting night clubs or attending celebratory parties and being photographed with a different model or actress on his arm every week. He won’t have a collection of expensive cars either. He is far too grounded and humble to ever be that sort of person. You would be more likely to see him going to church with his family than spot him in a nightclub.

He won’t be slacking off like Ozil or Aubameyang did when they got massive new contracts. Saka is a grafter and wants to learn to become an even better player. All credit to his parents for the way they’ve brought him up to be respectful, modest and polite. He worked hard at school to get top grades and wasn’t distracted from that by being an extremely gifted footballer.

There are a few concerns that I have. The first being it is infuriating and worrying the way he is targeted by opposing players. He is rotationally fouled on a regular basis. He is being kicked from pillar to post in an attempt to put him out the game. Bukayo is very robust and although he’s small he has tremendous upper body strength to hold defenders off and no matter how many times they kick him bravely he always gets up and comes back for more. He reminds me so much of Rocky in that respect. In fact there are a lot of parallels between the two of them. However if referees don’t give Saka more protection I fear that one day he could sustain a serious injury.

My other concern is that towards the end of this season he has been showing signs of fatigue and looking jaded. It’s no surprise as he never seems to get a rest. He’s played in every Premier League game this season and has played the most consecutive games of any player in the Premier League playing in the last 78 matches for The Arsenal in the league.

Premier League minutes this season
Saka 3,041
Grealish 2,063
Foden 1,612
Mahrez 1,169

Bukayo is playing so much more than the Manchester City wide forwards. Arsenal really need to find a solution to how they can play someone else at times to share the load with Saka without too much drop off in quality. If they can’t find find the answer within the squad they will have buy somebody.

However it isn’t just Mikel Arteta who is loathe to leave him out – this season a World Cup tournament was squeezed into the middle of the season and Gareth Southgate also relies heavily on our “Starboy” who played a big part for England in Qatar. When the international matches are taken into account Saka has played an incredibly gruelling 4,248 minutes for club and country. If Southgate has any sense he’ll leave him out of the next two internationals against North Macedonia and Malta. We don’t want him to burn out or suffer chronic injuries like Jack Wilshere did.

At 21 years old Saka is already a wonderful player. But his ceiling is very high and there is still so much more to come from him. It will great to watch his development under Arteta at the Emirates for years to come.

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