Martin Keown sends urgent message to Arsenal about 18-year-old’s future
Arsenal legend Martin Keown is eager to see Bukayo Saka remain at The Emirates
Martin Keown says he is concerned that Bukayo Saka’s head could be turned amid contract negotiations with Arsenal over a new long-term deal.
The 18-year-old has proven to be a bright spark for Arsenal this season in an otherwise challenging campaign for the north London side.
Saka has managed to get more first-team minutes under his belt under Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and current manager Mikel Arteta.
The Arsenal teenager created the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s 81st-minute winner in their 1-0 victory over Olympiakos in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday night.
Although the Gunners are in talks with the 18-year-old over a new deal, Saka has been linked with a potential move to Premier League leaders Liverpool FC.
Former Arsenal defender Keown is worried that Saka could be distracted by the transfer speculation and ultimately leave the north London side.
“We know the importance of it [contract situation] and you hope that his head isn’t turned, and that Arsenal is his club,” Keown told BT Sport, as quoted by Metro.
“It is massively important for the youth system. He has come through the academy and you have got to have that light at the end of the tunnel for these youngsters.
“He is the one now, he is the talking point. [Gabriel] Martinelli has been brought in as a youngster, but [Bukayo] Saka, with his intelligence of movement and the quality of the pass, that doesn’t grow on trees.
“They have got to nail the player down to a new deal as soon as possible.”
Saka has scored one goal and made three assists in his last four appearances for Arsenal.
The Gunners starlet has scored three goals and has made seven assists in 25 appearances in all competitions so far this term.
Arsenal will take on Everton in their next Premier League game at The Emirates on Sunday before the Gunners host Olympiakos in the second leg of their round of 32 tie on Thursday night.