Arsenal may already have the next Saka in “unplayable” 18y/o who’s “Hale End’s Finest”

The young Gunner has been lighting it up for the youth side.

The young Gunner has been lighting it up for the youth side.

Arsenal could already have the next Saka who's "Hale End's finest"
Arsenal put in their arguably best performance of the Premier League season on Sunday afternoon as they comprehensively beat Liverpool at the Emirates.Mikel Arteta’s side was the better team to a man, and Jürgen Klopp’s men looked utterly bewildered for much of the 90 minutes.

One of the goalscorers for the Gunners was Bukayo Saka, and while he might not be as aesthetically pleasing as last season, he has been just as effective.

Arsenal could already have the next Saka who's "Hale End's finest"

So far, the 22-year-old superstar has scored 11 goals and provided 12 assists in 30 appearances for the north Londoners this year, and Hale End might already have the next Saka on their hands.

Bukayo Saka’s Arsenal record

Saka joined the Arsenal set-up at just eight years old and has been with the club ever since, working his way up through the junior sides before finally making his way into the first team.

This journey from relative obscurity to international stardom with the Gunners is undeniably a part of what makes him so beloved by the Arsenal faithful. Still, he has the ability and impressive record to back it up.

Before establishing himself as a first-team player, the Ealing-born gem played 53 games for the U18 and U23 sides, where he scored 22 goals and provided 17 assists, meaning he averaged 0.73 goal involvements per game.

Bukayo Saka’s Arsenal Career in Numbers
Team Arsenal Arsenal U23 Arsenal U18
Appearances 209 25 28
Goals 49 6 16
Assists 53 10 7
Goal Involvements per Match 0.48 0.64 0.82
All Stats via Transfermarkt

He made his debut for the senior side in November 2018 in a Europa League Group Stage game against Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava before making his first Premier League start for the club against Aston Villa in September 2019.

Since then, Arsenal’s ‘Little Chili’ has made 209 appearances for the club, scored 49 goals and provided 53 assists, meaning he has averaged 0.48 goal involvements per match across his entire senior career.

The stats are genuinely remarkable, and with the emergence of another Hale End prodigy, Amario Cozier-Duberry, Arteta might have a second Saka on his hands.

The numbers that prove fans should be excited about Amario Cozier-Duberry

Now, comparing a youngster to a senior player as impressive and beloved as Saka could certainly be seen as setting said youngster up for failure.

However, with how impressive Cozier-Duberry has been for the Gunners’ youth teams and how those in the know talk about him, it feels as if he is genuinely going to make it into the senior side soon.

For example, when speaking to The Athletic last season, Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s U18 coach, said: “He reminds me of Bukayo Saka. In some moments, he’s unplayable. You give him the ball and he can make things happen. You can set up a team and have a game plan, but when you’ve got individuals like that you’ve got a chance.”

This sense that he is special extends outside the club bubble as well, with talent scout Jacek Kulig describing the 18-year-old as “Hale End’s finest” halfway through last season, and when looking at his numbers from the academy, it’s not hard to see why people feel so strongly about his ability.

In 72 games for the U21s, U18s and UEFA Youth League squads, the exciting “talent”, as U23 scout Antonio Mango dubbed him, has scored 24 goals and provided 15 assists, meaning that he has been averaging a goal involvement every 1.8 games, or more than once every other game.

Amario Cozier-Duberry’s Youth Career in Numbers
Team Arsenal U21 Arsenal U18 Arsenal YL
Appearances 37 31 4
Goals 12 10 2
Assists 7 8
Goal Involvements per Match 0.51 0.58 0.50
All Stats via Transfermarkt

Ultimately, hitting the bar set by Saka at Arsenal is a herculean task, of that there is no doubt, but if any of the Gunners’ recent crop of youngsters stand a good chance of doing so, it’s Cozier Duberry.

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