Bukayo Saka: Mikel Arteta to demand more from youngster following new Arsenal deal
England youth international winger has made 33 first-team appearances for the Gunners so far this season
Last Updated: 01/07/20 11:02pm
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta will demand even more from forward Bukayo Saka after the youngster committed himself to the club by signing a new long-term contract.
The 18-year-old, who came through the club's academy, has made a major impact during the current season after making his debut in the Europa League in 2018.
And Arteta, who praised Arsenal's academy for the work they have done with Saka, has vowed to get even more from the youngster in the years ahead.
"He is the player that represents every value that this football club stands for," Arteta said following Arsenal's 4-0 win against Norwich.
"He's come through the academy, so big credit to everyone who has been involved in the process of developing the player and the person that he is today.
"He's come into my hands, our hands, really mature, really focused and really well developed in his knowledge about what he needs to do in the game, and it was really important for me to keep him and have big belief in him.
"From now on, I will be demanding more because he can give us more and more hopefully in the future."
Saka has been a stand-out performer this season for Arsenal, playing 33 times in all competitions.
He has continued to impress, predominantly in a wing-back role, since he made his Premier League debut at the age of 17 in the 4-1 win over Fulham last season.
The Gunners were under increasing pressure to tie him to the Emirates Stadium following reported interest from Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
Saka tweeted after the announcement of his new deal: "London is my home. Arsenal my team. I'm so happy to finally announce my contract extension. I love playing for this club and I'm looking forward to what the future holds. The hard work continues so I can continue living my dream."
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Earlier in the day, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta told the club website: "Bukayo is a talented and intelligent young player.
"He has impressed me with his work ethic and attitude to learn and adapt, and it has paid off in his performances. I am excited to continue working with him to develop him further, and for him to help us achieve our goals."
Gunners technical director Edu added: "This is something everyone involved wanted to happen and we are delighted that Bukayo has signed a new long-term contract.
"He's making great progress and is one of a number of young players who have developed through our academy. This is so important for us as we move forward as a club."
London is my home. Arsenal my team. I’m so happy to finally announce my contract extension😄📝 I love playing for this club and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.. The hard work continues so I can continue living my dream🙏🏿❤️ God is Great !! pic.twitter.com/nS7G5nE9Pc— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) July 1, 2020
Analysis: Saka deal a timely boost for Arsenal
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
Arsenal's recent contract dealings have split opinion among supporters, with David Luiz's extension, in particular, causing head-scratching in some quarters, but news of their best young player finally committing his future to the club has been greeted positively by all.
It ends a nervous wait. Saka, 18, was about to enter the final year of his contract at his boyhood club, and fears that Arsenal were going to let another star player slip through their fingers became heightened as talks over a new deal seemed to drag on during the lockdown.
Some of Europe's top clubs sensed an opportunity to pounce, with Liverpool and Bayern Munich among those said to be eager to tempt him away from the Emirates Stadium, but Mikel Arteta convinced him to stay and his new contract comes as a timely boost for a club in need of a lift.
Saka has shown outstanding potential since bursting onto the scene last season, producing a string of eye-catching performances at left-back before the lockdown and impressing in midfield more recently. He is already a regular starter under Arteta, who views him as a key figure in Arsenal's future, and a senior England call-up is likely to follow at the next opportunity.
For Arsenal, the hope now is that his thrilling progress will continue at the club he has called home since he was nine years old.
William Saliba will miss the French Cup final after Arsenal revealed on Wednesday they would not be extending his loan at Saint-Etienne until the end of the season.
Saliba, 19, joined Arsenal for a fee in the region of £27m last summer and was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 club, with the deal set to expire at the end of June.
Arteta had previously said Saliba had "earned the right" to play in the final but Arsenal said the defender will return to the Emirates after the Gunners failed to agree a short-term loan extension.