Arsenal risk transfer shame after Per Mertesacker’s “inspiration” Bukayo Saka claim

Bukayo Saka has been linked with a move away from Arsenal this summer, and it could cause major problems for Mikel Arteta, as well as leave Per Mertesacker with egg on his face.

Saka has just been selected as Arsenal’s player of the season, and the 20-year-old is seen as the future along with fellow academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe. In recent times Arsenal have struggled, but the emergence of their youth stars has kept a real sense of optimism about what may be yet to come.

But despite being Arsenal’s golden boy, it appears that Saka may have his heart set on a move away from the club with Liverpool and Manchester City both interested. And despite being labelled as a ‘role model’ for the Arsenal academy, it could cause other youngsters to follow suit if Saka was to leave the Emirates.

No player has featured more under Arteta than Saka, as he has been the main star in an increasingly youthful team at Arsenal. Saka has been labelled as an ‘inspiration’ by academy coach and former Arsenal star Mertesacker, who also said that in October that the 20-year-old could not be distracted.

Saka’s contract expires in 2024, and the Daily Mail have reported that he is only willing to sign a new deal if a release clause is included. This suggests that although Saka is happy at Arsenal, he doesn’t want to be held back should the right team approach him in the transfer market.

This is worrying for Arsenal as Saka’s exit could create an example to some of the Gunners other youth stars, who look up to the youngster as an inspiration. The club have been known for being coy during contract discussions before, and Mertesacker’s comments show just how unaware Arsenal were that this situation might happen.






Per Mertesacker gave a glowing assessment of Bukayo Saka


Per Mertesacker gave a glowing assessment of Bukayo Saka
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David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Bukayo has the mindset of a lifelong learner and I can only congratulate his parents for raising a son who is so humble, so respectful and so disciplined,” Mertesacker said. “We absolutely love it that he is such an inspiration who always stays true to himself along the bumpy pathway and has not been distracted by the shiny things that will come to him such as contracts and money.

“He has never lost sight of the fact that he is really fortunate to work under such privileged circumstances and those principles will last longer than any contract that he might sign.” But it appears that Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League may have changed Saka’s stance on staying put.

Saka is destined for the top, and if Arsenal cannot give him what he wants then the star has every right to move on to better things. But it could cause a ripple effect, with other academy stars using Saka as a role model, potentially considering a future away from Arsenal too.






Marcelo Flores sees Bukayo Saka as a role model


Marcelo Flores sees Bukayo Saka as a role model
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Getty Images)

One of Arsenal’s brightest youngsters is Marcelo Flores, and the Mexican star is on the brink of breaking into the first team. And in an interview with Goal in 2020, he said: “I see Bukayo, he is a very good role model for me. He is the best person to talk to, we text and we talk a lot.

“He worked very hard to get where he is. He gives me advice and shares his own experiences so I’m ready for whatever is coming.” Arsenal don’t have to panic just yet, as Saka still have two years left on his deal, but they should use this as a wake-up call.

Arsenal have to strengthen and try to get back into the Champions League as soon as possible, or Arteta’s progress could become undone. If the Gunners fail to move forward, Saka is likely to be off and he may not be the only talent to leave the Emirates.





Mikel Arteta has played Bukayo Saka more than any other player since becoming Arsenal boss


Mikel Arteta has played Bukayo Saka more than any other player since becoming Arsenal boss

The Gunners have been linked with a whole host of stars, but the immediate concerns regarding Saka’s contract must be a priority. Arsenal bosses are reportedly calm that the situation will be resolved, and are looking to discuss matters after the summer break.

But it could be perhaps what Arsenal do between now and then that shapes Saka’s future at the club, and losing him would be the biggest blow of them all. Saka would fit right in at Liverpool or City, but for Arsenal’s sake, they cannot let that happen.

It’s expected to be a busy summer at Arsenal, and they may even surpass their summer spend last year, as they splashed out £150million on six new signings. But it’s important to keep what they have, as well as bring fresh faces in.

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