Arsenal warned against making the same mistake with star linked with Liverpool
Saka has been one of Arsenal’s best performers this season, prompting interest from the 2020 Premier League champions, and one Gunners legend has issued a warning to Mikel Arteta’s team
Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is just a year and a half into his current contract at the Emirates Stadium, but reported interest from Liverpool has prompted calls to give the 20-year-old a further extension.
The England international has five goals and four assists this season, bouncing back well from his Euro 2020 penalty disappointment, and Liverpool are said to be interested as Jurgen Klopp looks at ways to refresh his front line.
It wouldn’t be the first time the Gunners have lost a key player to a Premier League rival, with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie among those to famously have their heads turned.
And former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, who won mutliple trophies with the club as a player, has told them what they need to do in order to avoid a repeat with their number seven.
Campbell himself joined Arsenal in contentious circumstances, letting his contract at Tottenham run down and moving to his former club’s fiercest rivals for nothing.
Since then, though, he has seen players get closer to the end of their deals, with Arsenal cashing in for less than they might have done previously.
It is for this reason that he believes the club can benefit from handing Saka another new deal, despite more than two years remaining on his current contract.
“When you get young players who just come out and do really, really well, you’ve got to protect them, you’ve got to secure them,” Campbell told talkSPORT.
“They’re the lifeblood for the fans, for their country, England, and especially Arsenal.
“You can’t allow top, top players to run their contracts down and move on because you’re taking too long.”
“It’s happened before but that was all about big, big money, it took a long time to secure their contracts – why?
“When a club takes so long to secure the future of a player, if you wait too long, they’re going to get offers from other teams around.”
Arsenal have already tied Saka’s club and international teammate Emile Smith Rowe to a longer-term deal, with the academy product putting pen to paper on a contract which runs until 2026.
Fellow young talent Gabriel Martinelli is under contract until 2024, with the club holding an option to extend the deal by a further year, though Hale End graduate Eddie Nketiah is yet to extend a deal which expires in summer 2022
“The only thing is he wants more minutes,” Arteta recently said of the striker, who will be free to talk to new clubs in January.
“That’s his desire, but as a club and me I want him to stay. Eddie is our player and a really important part of the squad.”