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Saka receives praise from manager and teammates after brilliant showing against Watford

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By Martin Graham | 9th Mar 2022

Watford

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has come out to praise Bukayo Saka after his brilliant showing away to Watford in the Premier League on Sunday.

Saka provided an assist and scored a goal as Arsenal ran out 3-2 victors from their trip to Vicarage Road on Sunday. The win saw them secure fourth place in the Premier League after Manchester United lost the Manchester Derby to Premier League table toppers Manchester City.

Arsenal manager, Arteta, noted that the young Englishman has been in great form since his penalty miss at Euro 2020.

“I think Bukayo had an experience in the summer that not a lot of players would ever have and I think it was great for his career because the football world showed how much they like him and how much they respect him,” Arteta said of his charge in his post-match comments.

“I think that was a big boost for him to realise in difficult moments that people are going to give him support, and the club did exactly the same as his team-mates.

“Then it’s about giving him that space. What he is already doing is phenomenal and he needs that room. Don’t read too much, do what you do.

“Football is his priority in life and you can see that every day in training and he needs to continue to behave and live the way that he is doing.”

Arteta also believes that Saka, who has enjoyed an impressive season so far, is better for the experience of Euro 2020.

“I think so,” Arteta said when questioned on the issue. “I think experiences like that mark your career. And what you learn from those difficult moments is much more probably than if you had scored that goal.”

Partey hopes Saka remains at Arsenal hoping ‘for a long time’

Saka’s teammates also praised his performances against Watford after the match.

The 20-year-old has been linked with a move to Anfield in the summer as news emerged of Jürgen Klopp’s interest l in him. However, Gunners midfielder Thomas Partey is hoping that Saka will remain at Arsenal for a long time amid reports linking him to Liverpool.

“We all know what he is doing. He is one of the best young players in the world now,” Partey said after the match.

“I think he is doing a great job. I hope he stays with us for a long time and does what he can, and tries to take this team far.”

Saka has been in great form for Arsenal this season and is one of their most important players. He has scored eight goals and five assists from his 25 Premier League appearances while putting up performances worthy of some of the world’s best.

It remains to be seen what Saka will do in the summer as regards his future with the possibility of playing with the likes of Mohamed Salah a very appealing prospect for the young forward.

Arsenal face PSG battle for midfielder; told to think twice about Aston Villa target

Elsewhere, reports are linking Arsenal with Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Lucas Paqueta, who is also being linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United.

The 24-year-old Brazilian midfielder has been excellent for Lyon in recent seasons. This season, has 30 appearances for the club, scoring eight goals and providing five assists so far.

Paqueta’s current contract with Lyon expires in 2025 and the club is reportedly open to selling the midfielder, putting a €40 million price tag on him.

According to Calciomercato, Arsenal will battle with French giants PSG to sign the Brazil star.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been told that Ollie Watkins is not a difference maker like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was.

The Gunners are intensifying their search for a striker as they prepare to lose captain Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah in the summer.

They also released Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January due to some disciplinary issues and the Gabonese international is currently regaining the form which saw him become a fan favourite at the Emirates with Barcelona.

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins is a reported target for the Gunners and former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan is unsure whether Watkins would have the “same impact” on Arsenal as Aubameyang did.

“Aubameyang is a massive name, and he’s firing them in for Barcelona right now,” Whelan said while speaking with Football Insider.

“Is Watkins the type of player who can come in and have that same impact? I’m not so sure, I think Aubameyang is just that grade ahead when in form.

“But he’s young, and he’s got talent. There’s nothing to say that he can’t step into those shoes in the future.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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