Arsenal has a tremendous young talent in Bukayo Saka and he could well follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.
Horrifically, the first transfer rumor tying Bukayo Saka to an early Arsenal exit has arrived. Before, it was just a matter of him needing a new contract and the possibility of an exit, but now there’s an actual club attached to the horrible prospectus, and that team is German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund.
While no one has gone so far as to say it yet, Bukayo Saka has a lot of the same properties as Jadon Sancho when he was at Manchester City. City, like Arsenal is at risk of, couldn’t keep hold of Sancho and he went to Dortmund, where he has since become the best young player in the world.
Bukayo Saka surely has eyes on following in Sancho’s footsteps, but there’s a right and a wrong way for him to do that, and moving to Dortmund is not the right way. Well, it may work for him, but it sure as hell doesn’t work for the Gunners.
Sure, he would literally be following Sancho’s footsteps if he went to Dortmund and potentially directly replaced Sancho. But Arsenal’s job is to convince Saka that that step isn’t necessary. That his stage for international acclaim is at the Emirates.
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It’s not a stretch either. If Mikel Arteta wanted to, he could realistically tell Saka right now that he will be starting next year. Because he should be. And if he’s not, his primary competition is Gabriel Martinelli, someone else who will have eyes on Sancho’s mantle.
Dortmund knows how to raise young players, sure, but so too does Arsenal, and with Saka having grown through the club and with the great open horizon ahead of this club with Mikel Arteta in charge, Saka can still follow in the footsteps of Sancho without having to follow his literal footsteps.
As in, still grow and be one of the best young players in the world, but do it at the Emirates, not in Germany. There’s nothing Dortmund can give him that we can’t also provide, rest assured of that.
All he needs is a new contract. Not just to protect his future, but to protect the club from losing him from far under what he’s really worth. There aren’t any higher priorities.