Petit warns Arsenal over Saka, ESR amid imminent transfer

Joe Williams
Bukayo Saka Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal
Bukayo Saka Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal

Emmanuel Petit has warned Arsenal that Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe “need protection” and claims “it shouldn’t be their responsibility to take care of the team”.

The Gunners have been increasingly reliant on the performances of the young duo as Mikel Arteta continues to mould the Arsenal squad into winners.

Arsenal look to be getting some business done early in this transfer window with a deal for Brighton defender Ben White reportedly edging closer, while it looks like Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga is an imminent arrival.

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But former Arsenal midfielder Petit thinks the team still need more experience to help the likes of Saka and Smith Rowe to develop.

Petit told Paddy Power: “Albert Sambi Lokonga is young and talented, with a bright future. We have seen so many young players come in at Arsenal, and of course you need that for the future, but what Arsenal need is players with character and a big personality. That is something Arsenal have been missing for ages.

“Arsenal need players who hate to lose games, players who ‘shake the tree’ in the dressing room, who can say things there, who can show fight. They need leaders. They need someone to show the way, to be responsible. I’d urge Arsenal to do that.

“A lot of players bring talent, but on top of that, they bring character and personality – and this is something I want to see back at Arsenal. They need players who can take responsibility on and off the pitch, who can show the rest of the team, ‘This is the way we want to go, and we are all going together’. It’s so important, and I haven’t seen that quality at Arsenal for years.

“Players like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have shown some of those qualities but they’re young and inexperienced, it shouldn’t be their responsibility to take care of the team. They need the protection of other players and to improve year after year and to become the leaders of the team. But for the moment it’s too soon for them, they need experienced players around them.

“It doesn’t matter how many quality players you have, if you don’t create unity, and put spirit and soul into the team, you will never win anything. It’s impossible.”