Opinion: Where next for Bukayo Saka as clubs approach Arsenal? Man Utd & Liverpool among realistic contenders | OneFootball
Opinion: Where next for Bukayo Saka as clubs approach Arsenal? Man Utd & Liverpool among realistic contenders
Arsenal are surely going to find it increasingly difficult to keep hold of Bukayo Saka in the near future after the youngster’s remarkable rise at the Emirates Stadium.
As well as being more and more of a key player for the Gunners, Saka took his opportunity to shine for England as they reached the final of Euro 2020 this summer, putting in some impressive big-game performances against the likes of Germany.
Saka may have missed his penalty in the shoot-out defeat against Italy in the final, but the 20-year-old still undoubtedly left the tournament with his reputation enhanced, whilst also receiving an outpouring of support in response to the vile racist abuse he, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were also subjected to after missing penalties in that game.
Arsenal are not the force they once were, with the north London outfit making a number of big-money signings in recent times, but still finding that homegrown talents like Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are some of their most important performers.
It seems inevitable that if Arsenal don’t improve soon, they’re going to face strong interest in Saka from the usual suspects at home and abroad, and it seems that some initial approaches may have come already.
According to Fabrizio Romano on his Here We Go podcast, some unnamed clubs have made tentative enquiries about Saka’s situation at Arsenal, though the club unsurprisingly consider him untouchable.
That may not be all Arsenal’s decision, though, with Saka himself also sure to think he could do better by leaving for one of the other big six sides in the Premier League, or to a major European giant.
We’ve had a look at the clubs who could surely be in for Saka at some point, and how the England starlet might fit in there…
Does a club that just signed Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho really have any room for Saka? Well, it might not make sense as a priority for Man Utd, but the best clubs always want to improve on the players they have.
Saka is certainly an upgrade on Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, and some might even argue that he’d be an improvement on Marcus Rashford. Let’s not forget he can also operate as a left wing-back, though in fairness Luke Shaw is surely pretty safe in his position at Old Trafford.
We’ve seen United raid Arsenal for Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie in the recent past, so one imagines they’d surely consider Saka as well.
Bukayo Saka in action for Arsenal
Liverpool might need to think about making changes to their attack in the near future, with none of their front three getting any younger and with some signs of decline from Sadio Mane on the left-hand side last season.
Saka could be perfect to come in as a long-term replacement, with the skilful and intelligent youngster looking like he’d be a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.
The Daily Mirror have previously linked Liverpool with a similar player in Ismaila Sarr, but Saka seems to have a higher ceiling, so could surely also come up on their radar if they continue to look for signings in that department in the near future.
A few players have played for both Arsenal and Chelsea now, with Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz and Willian among the big-name examples, so could Saka soon be a target for the Blues?
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It would be fair to say that some of Chelsea’s wide-players are not quite playing at their full potential at the moment, with Hakim Ziyech not living up to expectations since joining last season, while Callum Hudson-Odoi doesn’t quite look like developing into the player he looked capable of being when he first broke onto the scene.
Chelsea may well see Saka as an upgrade in that department, and with Ben Chilwell not playing much at the moment, perhaps Thomas Tuchel would even fancy the Gunners ace as an option at left wing-back.
Saka could follow the likes of Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy in leaving Arsenal for Man City, with Pep Guardiola sure to feel he could develop the 20-year-old into a truly elite attacking player.
Eurosport report that Bernardo Silva’s future at the Etihad Stadium is in doubt, while they might also want to think about a long-term replacement for Raheem Sterling some time soon.
And why wouldn’t Saka be tempted to leave Arsenal for City? The Premier League champions have dominated the domestic scene in recent times and it’s surely not long before they add European silverware to their trophy cabinet.
They’re one of the biggest names in world football, but Juventus look to be heading into something of a transitional period: Cristiano Ronaldo has just left the club, and much of the rest of their squad is ageing and in need of a rebuild.
Bukayo Saka is attracting interest from other clubs
Up front, Saka could undoubtedly be a tempting addition to provide an upgrade on the likes of Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado, who are not the players they once were.
It remains to be seen if a move abroad would appeal to the England international, but it’s something we’re seeing more and more of in the modern game.
Finally, it’s not far off a full-on crisis at Barcelona right now, so it’s probably time they start thinking for the future and ushering in a new era.
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Saka is no Lionel Messi and probably never will be, but he would surely be a far better signing than flops like Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in the Barca attack.
And while Barcelona have their troubles, they’re still in the Champions League and will probably be competing for more of the bigger trophies than Arsenal are any time soon, so Saka would surely see this as a step up.