Player Analysis: Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka – Who Is He? 

  • Name – Bukayo Saka 
  • Age – 09/05/1991 (19 years old)
  • Rookie Season/ Team – 2018 / Arsenal 
  • Nationality – England 
  • International Caps (Goals) – 4 (0)
  • Position – Left Midfield / Left Back 
  • Current Team / League – Arsenal / English Premier League 

Career Overview 

Bukayo Saka was born in Ealing, Greater London, and joined Arsenal’s Hale End Academy when he was six years old. Upon turning 17, he was offered a professional contract by the Gunners and joined their Under-23 side. 

He made his competitive debut for Arsenal in the Europa League, replacing Aaron Ramsey in the 68th minute in a match against Vorskla Poltava. His first full home debut came on December 13th in another Europa League game, this time against Qarabag. It was not until the New Year when Saka made his Premier League debut, replacing Alex Iwobi in the 83rd minute in a 4-1 thrashing of Fulham. This, however, was his last league appearance of the season. 

The 2019/20 season saw Saka establish himself in the team. He scored his senior goal in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt and also set up both other goals in a 3-0 win. This performance earned him his first Premier League start against Aston Villa, which Arsenal won 3-2. 

Injuries to Sead Kolašinac and Kieran Tierney meant Saka became the first-choice Left Back for Arsenal. On January 27th, he scored the first goal in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth, finishing a sublime 22-pass move. By the end of the season, he finished with 11 assists in all competitions as Arsenal finished eighth. 

His Season So Far 

Saka has started well this season, making 12 appearances overall and scoring one goal, while chipping in two assists, one in the Europa League and another in the Community Shield, which Arsenal won on penalties. 

Last season’s form has put him in contention for international appearances, as well. He made his England debut in the 3-0 victory over Wales. His next appearance came against Ireland, where he played the full 90 minutes and is also credited for the assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s second half penalty. Saka made his first competitive international experience in 2-0 defeat to Belgium and was subbed off in the 52nd minute, although he played the full 90 in the final Nations League game against Iceland, where England ran out 4-0 winners.  

How Do His Stats Look?

Bukayo Saka does not boast the wealth of appearances that Kevin De Bruyne or teammate Pierre Emerick Aubameyang do. Across his entire career, he has only made 58 senior appearances. This makes his stat pool a little too shallow to dive deep into his performances. That he’s yet to truly nail down a position for either club or country also means that his statistics might also seem a little erratic. 

Even so, there are some promising signs. Saka is not a goal machine, but you can’t expect that in his position. What does stand out, however, is his assist record. In his 58 appearances for the Gunners, Saka has made 13 assists, giving him a record of 0.22 goal contributions per game. While not world-beating, it isn’t bad for a 19-year-old Left Back-cum-Midfielder. Combine his assists with his five senior goals, and this number rises slightly to 0.31. 

Because of his position, we also need to look at his defensive work. In his three seasons with Arsenal’s First Team, he has made 44 tackles, made 17 interceptions, 16 clearances with nine headed clearances, and blocked seven shots. 

Why Has His Value Increased? 

Soccer card values can rise and fall often without warning or even any real reason, at least from an outsider perspective. However, there are always several factors that determine why a player’s soccer card value has increased recently. With Bukayo Saka, this is based on several things 

  • Established himself as a common figure in the Arsenal starting eleven
  • Recently made his England debut 
  • Part of an array of exciting young English players and part of the 2020 Golden Boy nominations
  • Increased interest in soccer cards
  • Increased interest for collectors looking for promising rookies 

Predictions for the Future 

Soccer is a fickle mistress. One day you’re the most promising player in the world and the next you’re roughing it alongside has-beens in the Vanarama National League after a slew of poor career decisions. However, although you, Saka seems to have a good head on him. Looking towards the future, his ceiling is high, but his soccer card value and career success depends on several factors., 

  • Consistency: Consistency comes with age and experience, and Saka is not there yet. However, the more faith Arteta and Southgate put in him, the more consistent he will become.
  • Form: Form can only be maintained with regular starts, and Saka has started 67% of all EPL games so far this season, playing well, but not brilliantly yet. 
  • Club Form: Arsenal are not exactly the definition of consistent, but the quality is there when they want it to be, and despite a few hiccups over the last few weeks, Artetaball could still catch on. 
  • Honors: Saka’s youth restricts him from the wealth of honors of established players. But he tasted silverware with the FA Cup and Community Shield this year. Arsenal are unlikely to win the league, but a Europa League victory and another domestic cup win are possible. 
  • International Performance: Saka has some way to go before establishing himself in the England team and has competition for the Left Midfield and Left Back positions. England missed out on the later stages of the Nations League, but there is always the Euros next year. 

Bukayo Saka – A Summary 

As it’s still so early in his career, it’s difficult to say where Saka will be in five years. The signs are promising, and if he gets the chance to refine his game for club and country, he could become one of the best players in the world. 

Like other young prospects such as Phil Foden, Kai Havertz and Ferran Torres, Saka has the benefit of time on his side. Therefore, while he may not be lighting up the world just yet, as is difficult for players not named Neymar, Mbappe, or Messi, he could still become a valuable player and soccer card in the future. 

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