‘Intelligent boy’ – Pires ‘not surprised’ by Arsenal, Saka development

Date published: Friday 1st April 2022 12:38 - Jason Soutar

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka hugs goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale

Arsenal legend Robert Pires says he is “not surprised” by the development of the youngsters at the club, in particular Bukayo Saka.

Saka has been terrific for the Gunners since breaking into the first team back in 2019.

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He is enjoying his best season to date having scored nine goals in 28 Premier League appearances.

The 20-year-old is also an important player for England and is very likely to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Saka’s upwards trajectory comes as no surprise to Pires, who scored 85 goals in 284 matches for the north London club.

“We’ve all seen his quality,” he told FourFourTwo (via HITC). “I’m not surprised by his career.

“I’m in contact with him and we chat from time to time. He asks me for advice, and he’s a very intelligent boy.”

Pires also praised manager Mikel Arteta for the mixture of youth and experience throughout his squad.

He added: “Saka, [Emile] Smith Rowe, [Gabriel] Martinelli… they’re all important players I really like. It’s the same with Aaron Ramsdale.

“Together, they represent the future of Arsenal and must grow alongside more experienced players like [Granit] Xhaka, Gabriel or [Thomas] Partey. That mix was hard to put together, but Arteta has finally found the right formula.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal are back in for long-term target Houssem Aouar with the midfielder ready to leave Lyon, according to reports.

The Frenchman has been linked with a move to the Emirates since 2020, with his price significantly dropping to around €25m in the January transfer window.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas hinted on Thursday that Aouar would be leaving the French club at the end of the current season.

Aulas said: “Houssem Aouar wanted to leave already last year, it couldn’t be done. He will play even more by force of circumstances. There are nine games left to allow him to stand out.”

And Foot Sur7 claim that Arsenal have ‘positioned themselves’ alongside a number of other clubs ‘should indeed leave’ the Ligue Un outfit in the summer transfer window.

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