The Indispensable Bukayo Saka: Arsenal’s Record-Breaking Wonderkid

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka’s meteoric rise in the world of football has been nothing short of remarkable.

At just 20 years old, the Arsenal starlet finds himself on the brink of breaking a club record that has stood for over two decades.

His 82 consecutive Premier League appearances equaling the record set by Paul Merson in 1997 is a testament to his unwavering commitment and remarkable durability.

The Burden of Being Indispensable

Saka’s consistent presence on the pitch for Arsenal is both a blessing and a cause for concern. His staggering workload since the 2020/21 season began, with 168 games played, reflects a player of immense physical durability. However, questions linger about the toll this relentless schedule might take on his young shoulders. Arsenal fans, while grateful for Saka’s commitment, are understandably concerned about the risk of injury.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been unyielding in his support of Saka’s heavy playing schedule, drawing parallels with top players like Mo Salah who consistently feature in numerous matches. Arteta’s philosophy centers on developing players who can not only play but excel in multiple games. Saka, embracing this philosophy, sees the positive side.

Yet, paradoxically, Arsenal seems unprepared to address the dearth of a suitable backup for their most vital player. While other positions benefit from new recruits, the right-wing position remains a concern. Furthermore, Nicolas Pepe, once the club’s marquee signing but now looks to be in his way out, is the only other stylistically suitable reinforcement for the right-wing role.

Saka’s Glorious Purpose

As Saka prepares to break Paul Merson’s record, it’s clear that he stands in stark contrast to the Arsenal legend. Merson’s turbulent career, marked by personal struggles, contrasts sharply with Saka’s commitment and focus. Additionally, Ian Wright aptly described Saka as someone “burdened with glorious purpose“.

Beyond his extraordinary achievements on the pitch, Saka’s influence extends off the field. He is not only a rising football star but also an advocate for young entrepreneurs in various fields, from art to fashion. Saka aspires to reach the levels of consistency and resilience embodied by legends like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Saka’s journey reflects a new era at Arsenal. The club, under Arteta’s guidance, aims to secure their first Premier League title in over two decades. Arsenal led the Premier League for “248 days” last season but fell short. Saka, however, believes that they’ve learned valuable lessons and are determined to mount a title challenge. With the addition of Declan Rice, a “£105 million record signing,” Saka sees a bright future for Arsenal.

Saka acknowledges,

“Rice adds a lot. It’s quality, leadership, desire. He’s just everywhere and he’s going to be a really big addition for us. You can already see the impact he’s having on us”.

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