Murmurs of interest from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City have rumbled on for months now, with some reports suggesting this week that the Premier League champions were plotting to firm up their interest in the versatile England starlet.
Mirror Football understands that City currently have no plans to pursue a deal for Saka this summer. However, it’s inevitable that the Gunners main man will have a number of attractive European suitors courting him in 12 months time if he enjoys another prolific season for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The 20-year-old came from nowhere to spearhead Arsenal’s revival under Arteta, and securing Saka – who has two years left to run on his current deal – for the long haul must be the Spaniard’s top priority. But by actually focusing their attention elsewhere this summer, Arsenal can give themselves the best chance of doing that.
While on paper, encouraging the Gunners to prioritise other deals over a new contract for Saka may seem like an unorthodox approach, there is method to the madness. Arteta has more than enough to contend with right now, and the Londoners do have the option to add an extra year to Saka’s deal, meaning they have time on their side to persuade their talisman to commit his long-term future to the club.
Right now, Arsenal are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to persuading Saka – or any potential summer targets – to snub a move elsewhere, as they are unable to offer the lure of Champions League football. However, if Arteta and the Gunners hierarchy can get their summer business right, then they can eradicate that issue going forward and manoeuvre themselves into a position of power.
Sourcing a new No.9 is right at the top of Arteta’s summer agenda, and for good reason; Arsenal will not be able to muscle their way back into the upper echelons of the Premier League without a top-quality forward. Eddie Nketiah proved in the final weeks of the season that he has a role to play in north London next year, but if Arsenal are serious about becoming a premier player in English football once again, then signing an established top-flight striker like Gabriel Jesus is essential.
Landing Jesus alone though won’t solve all of Arsenal’s issues, and the club will need to try and bag another couple of high-calibre additions. But if they can manage that, they would be well-placed to finish the job they started this season and finally end their multi-year exile from the Champions League next year; something that would go a long way to convincing Saka that he may not have to leave the club in order to showcase his talents on the biggest stage and pursue major honours.
It’s been a long time since Arsenal were in that type of position, and the days where the club would be able to tolerate losing a superstar are long gone, so it’s imperative that they do whatever it takes to convince the Hale End graduate to stick in north London for the long haul.
The Gunners have shown signs of recovery over the past 18 months thanks to the emergence of Saka and a handful of other top young stars. It’s undeniable, though, that Saka is the jewel in the Emirates crown; losing him – either now or next summer – would be a setback like no other.