Bukayo Saka, born 5 September, 2001, London, Saka is of Nigerian descent. Saka turned down Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham and Watford to sign for Arsenal as a child. He started 2018/19 with Arsenal under-18s, but by the end of the season he became a star for Arsenal’s under-23s and made his first team debut at Emirates Stadium – all at just 17 years of age.
“I had invitations from Spurs, Chelsea, Fulham and Watford but the only choice was Arsenal,” said Saka. “I enjoyed the way that Arsenal played so the choice was easy for me. I trained at Hale End and signed when I was nine years old. Receiving a scholarship and then signing a professional contract a couple of months ago and playing for the first-team has made this year very special already.”
He impressed supporters in his full debut at the Emirates Stadium against Qarabag in the Europa League with an energetic and exciting performance, even if he admitted afterward he should’ve scored at the end.
“Bukayo is a great talent and played very, very well today,” Gunners youth coach Freddie Ljungberg told Arsenal Player after the 4-0 win over Liverpool in September.
With electric pace and a killer final ball, Bukayo is capable of playing anywhere in the front three, but has proven particularly dangerous stretching opposition’s defences down the left wing.
Bukayo scored twice and assisted once on his full debut for England under-19s. He made his first team debut against Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League back in November 2018.
Saka Full Biography and Profile
Bukayo Saka, born 5 September 2001, he played for England at U16, U17, U18 and U19 levels. He was making just his fifth senior start as part of an inexperienced Arsenal forward line, alongside fellow academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, but was the Gunners’ most impressive player in a tough game in Germany.
Saka says, “Ever since I joined the club at the age of eight, I have always dreamed of playing at the Emirates. I didn’t start too fast but I grew into the game and then I started to get past my man better. I just have to keep playing well at youth level, and any time I get the chance at the first team.”
The winger set up Willock for the Arsenal’s opening goal, smashed in the second in the 85th minute, and teed up Aubameyang two minutes later.
He was a threat throughout with his pace and trickery on the left flank and the teenager’s goal made him Arsenal’s youngest scorer in Europe since Aaron Ramsey in October 2008.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said Saka looked more impressive than the Gunners’ record signing Nicholas Pepe who joined this summer for £72m.
“They toiled away trying to get young players in and they have found one in Saka,” Keown said on BT Sport.
“You think of the way Pepe is playing at the moment and they paid £72m for him, and this kid looks better than him tonight.”
Saka was given his senior debut in last season’s Europa League and scored five times and made eight assists in 20 games for the reserve side last season.
He has made eight appearances for England’s Under-19s and has scored three times and set up another two.
Bukayo Saka the Arsenal winger: “I’m so happy to score for Arsenal, it’s a dream come true – I have been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid.
“I just want to keep working hard to make sure I can feel this feeling again.”
Joe Willock, who scored twice in that game, told Arsenal Player that Saka “is one of the most talented players we have in the team” before describing him as “fast” and “if you play to his strengths he’s unstoppable at times,” – high praise for a winger who has contributed to 11 goals for the youth teams this season, which works out as a goal every 79.5 minutes.
Adam Salter: Saka has grown and grown and grown in this game. Looked nervous at the beginning, but that goal caps a brilliant performance. Easily the Man of the Match.
Saka brings something no one else currently provides on the first team. He brings the ability to shake defenders with ease. And while we have yet to see how he would handle the added pressure of Premier League opposition, it’s safe to say that he doesn’t shy away from the spotlight.
According to Arsenal youth expert Jeorge Bird – Saka is the real deal.
He wrote on Twitter: “Don’t want to overhype him and of course it will take time to get used to intensity and physical nature of the Premier League, but Saka, with his directness and ability to make precise crosses, has qualities that the first-team could do with, even as a sub.”