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Mikel Arteta: 'There are no limits to Bukayo Saka's growth'

Mikel Arteta: 'There are no limits to Bukayo Saka's growth'
© Reuters
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes that there are currently no limits to Bukayo Saka's growth as he closes in on his 200th appearance for the Gunners.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes that there are currently no limits to Bukayo Saka's growth as he closes in on his 200th appearance for the Gunners.

The 22-year-old will bring up a double century of first-team matches for his boyhood club should he play against Luton Town at Kenilworth Road in Tuesday's Premier League encounter.

Since making his debut as a 17-year-old in November 2018, Saka has blossomed into an integral player for both club and country and is widely regarded as one of the best young wingers on the planet.

Saka has scored 46 goals and set up 51 more in his first 199 games for Arsenal, including the opener in Saturday's 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers to help the Gunners temporarily go four points clear at the top of the table.

The attacker is expected to start on Tuesday and is poised to become the second-youngest English men's player to reach 200 games for Arsenal at 22 years and 91 days, a record only beaten by Cliff Bastin, the club's third-highest scorer of all time.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts on December 2, 2023© Reuters

Saka's talent has had its drawbacks, though, as the youngster is often on the receiving end of rough treatment from the opposition and has drawn 27 fouls in the 2023-24 Premier League; only six players have been felled on more occasions in the English top flight this term.

When asked about Saka's meteoric rise from the Hale End academy, Arteta lauded the 22-year-old's "tremendous" impact on the first team at such a young age, telling the press: "That's not bad at his age!

"It's gone really fast but it shows again the consistency and the availability that he has had over the last few years. It has been tremendous and the impact that he's had in the team has been really positive."

Questioned on whether there any limits on the England international's progress, Arteta added: "At the moment no because he hasn't got any limits and he wants more and the people around him want more.

"His teammates are having a better understanding of what he needs as well. He has coaches, staff and a club that wants to push him to become better. I think it's a good context for him to keep growing.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their first goal on September 30, 2023© Reuters

"It's like watching a kid raise, and get older, mature and evolve. And he still has the same humility and willingness to get better and better and get to know the people close to him in his life, and the impact they have on him.

"All the academy people who worked with him as well over the years to make him the player he is today, they have to take a huge compliment of who Bukayo is today. And then let him be. Bukayo is a special guy, we have him with us hopefully for many years to come."

Saka's strike against Wolves at the weekend was his eighth goal from 20 games in all competitions this term, and the Englishman has also come up with 11 assists in 2023-24 so far.

The England international has also taken the Champions League by storm with three goals and four assists in his first five games in the competition, becoming the first player in history to both score and assist in his first three Champions League home matches.

Arteta also provided a reassuring update on the fitness of Takehiro Tomiyasu ahead of their midweek meeting with Luton, whom they have not met in a competitive setting since 1991.

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Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu celebrates scoring their fifth goal on October 28, 2023
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