Mikel Arteta has had an unforgettable season so far for a great many different reasons. Drafted in at the second time of asking to replace the ineffective Unai Emery and with morale and attendances at an all-time low. The Spaniard has his hands full with a list of injuries, malfunctioning, and disenchanted players as well as becoming the sport’s first high profile victim of the COVID-19, it been a challenge, to say the least.
It’s not over yet because he now has to work out how to get into the top four if the season resumes, how to rebuild his squad with insufficient funds and how to tempt Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into staying.
Arteta must love a challenge with a list of priorities that seem to grow almost daily. Close to the very top must be the signature of Bukayo Saka who has just 12 months left of his contract. This situation is being closely monitored by a host of clubs who are hoping that Arsenal manages to fluff their lines with their usual aplomb as they attempt to offer a contract extension to the impressive 18-year-old.
It appeared that things had ground to a halt but Arteta has personally involved himself to move things along by expressing his opinion of how vital the player is to his plans. Saka’s departure would also signal a return to the bad old days when Arsenal sold off their assets to balance the books and lacked the ambition to compete.
Arsenal are said to be back in discussions with the player’s representative with an improved offer that they hope will seal the deal. Saka has gone from strength to strength since grabbing our attention during the pre-season games in America and he hit the ground running with his man of the match performance against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League in a 3-0 victory.
When you look at the available youngsters around the world, Saka is up there with the best and in truth, Arsenal can’t afford to lose him. Should they fail to secure his services, it’s likely the vultures will start to descend on the Emirates to purchase the crème de la crème of the Arsenal academy. Arteta will feel that he must hold on to the youngsters at this early stage in his Arsenal reign, Saka in particular.