Mikel Arteta may have time on his side in convincing Bukayo Saka to commit his future to Arsenal, but he evidently cannot afford to lose one of his best players.
The last thing Arsenal needed this week was for their best player, Bukayo Saka, to be linked with a transfer away after losing out on a top-four finish in the final stages of the season.
Liverpool and Manchester City have been said to be interested in the versatile England talent for months, with some sources indicating this week that the Premier League champions were preparing to ratify their interest.
According to reports, the city has no plans to pursue a deal for Saka this summer.
If he has another spectacular season for Mikel Arteta’s side, the Gunners’ main man will undoubtedly have a lot of tempting European suitors wooing him in a year’s time.
Saka, who has two years left on his present contract, came from nothing to spearhead Arsenal’s recovery under Arteta, and keeping him for the long haul must be the Spaniard’s primary goal.
Arsenal, on the other hand, may offer themselves the best opportunity of doing so by concentrating their attention elsewhere this summer.
While asking the Gunners to put other signings ahead of a new contract for Saka may appear to be an unconventional tactic on paper, there is a method to the madness.
And while Arteta has enough on his plate right now, the Londoners have the option to extend Saka’s contract for another year, giving them more time to persuade their star to commit his long-term future to the club.
Arsenal are now at a major disadvantage in persuading Saka-or any other possible summer targets-to reject a transfer elsewhere since they are unable to provide the allure of Champions League play.
However, if Arteta and the Gunners’ leadership can get their summer business in order, they will be able to eliminate the problem and maneuver themselves into a position of power in the future.
Arsenal will not be able to claw their way back into the Premier League’s elite echelons without a top-quality attacker, which is why finding a new No.9 is at the top of Arteta’s summer priority.
Arsenal must sign a proven top-flight striker like Gabriel Jesus if they are serious about returning to the top of English football next season.
However, landing Jesus alone would not fix all of Arsenal’s problems, and the club will need to pursue a number of additional high-profile signings.
But if they can do that, they’ll be in a good position to finish the job they started this season and finally end their multi-year exile from the Champions League next season.
Which would go a long way toward persuading Saka that he doesn’t need to leave the club in order to showcase his talents on the biggest stage and compete for major titles.
Arsenal haven’t been in that situation in a long time, and the days of the club being able to bear losing a superstar are long gone.
So they must do all it takes to persuade the Hale End graduate to stay in north London for the long term.
Thanks to the emergence of Saka and a few other great young talents, the Gunners have shown indications of resurgence during the last 18 months.
Saka, on the other hand, is undeniably the jewel in the Emirates’ crown; losing him now or next summer would be a major loss.