Arsenal Opinion – Will Saka turn out like Kanu or Iwobi?

Bukayo Saka; like Kanu or like Iwobi?

Good morning once again. It is raining over here in Nigeria, how is the weather over there? It is another Saturday of football. We are all football fans and I believe we will keep ourselves busy watching other teams play, while our darling club relaxes from football duties in far away Dubai.

Just yesterday evening, I had a discussion with another passionate Arsenal fan who is my very good friend. Our discussion this time around centered on how good Saka has been this season. Being a player with Nigerian connections, it is only natural that every football fan, who is a Nigerian, talks about him and monitor his progress. While discussing, my friend told me he was scared of Saka burning out and not having an impact at Arsenal, after this season. I asked him ‘why?’ This was his opinion…

“When Iwobi broke into the Arsenal first team with so much talent to display, a lot of Arsenal fans in Nigeria were excited. Many of them, who witnessed Kanu’s exploits in the red shirt of this club, were hoping Iwobi would be another Kanu.

“Iwobi started his Arsenal career with so much promise and he was being touted as the next big thing to come from Nigerian football. He was fast, skillful and knew how to open up defences with his pace. And to add this to the fact that he is related to another Nigerian great footballer, Okocha, meant he was already being loved in Nigeria.

“As time went on, he began to get all the recognition he deserved; he got invited to the national team and from there, it was a one way ticket to stardom for him. In the colours of the Super Eagles, he did well and scored vital goals for the team. However, just as things were starting to get heavenly for him, Iwobi’s influence at Arsenal started dwindling. He started playing inconsistently, and his Arsenal career was starting to take a nose dive.

“Arsenal FC has a strong supporter’s base in Nigeria, and this strong base was partly built by Kanu’s exploits while at Arsenal. Kanu was a hero and it was just coincidental that his best days in the Nigeria national team were when he was at Arsenal. Kanu made a lot of Nigerians love Arsenal; his hat trick against Chelsea in a premiership game was all that was needed for Nigerians to love Kanu in Arsenal.

“So my friend, you can see why I said I am scared for Bukayo? I pray he becomes the next Kanu for Nigerian Arsenal fans, and not another Iwobi, who though is playing for well for the national team, didn’t really win the hearts of Arsenal fans in Nigeria.”

Well, my friend is surely entitled to his own opinion, but I feel Iwobi also made an impact while at Arsenal. Or what do you all think? We are Arsenal and we are proud.

Sylvester Kwentua


  1. I wonder if LB is now his best position, despite being a winger?

    Many wingers get converted into full/wingbacks, and Saka has been outstanding in that position. I was fairly impressed with his performances at LW, but even more so at LB.

    Even at LB he should, and has been, offering an attacking threat, but it’s how good his defending has been that has really surprised me. He’s definitely ahead of Kolasinac in that position now, and if Saka continues to progress, Tierney should struggle to displace him.

  2. An idea for an article, or maybe just a question you can add to one of your pieces.

    Do you guys think it would be good to rest any AFC first team players leading up to the Lv game, we could probably rest whoever we like, a game or two beforehand???

    I don’t think Saka is like either of them, unless you mean will he fail or will he succeed. I’d like Freddie to work with Saka closely. Freddie was an intelligent runner, Saka has the ball skills, if he could pick that, timing, up from Freddie, he could be a player that teams are scared of. They can’t get too tight because he’s a dazzler, a spinner, but then if they can’t back off neither from fear of him making a dart to the right area, he could be a helluva player.

    1. I agree that once we’ve reached 40 points we can concentrate on uefa league and FA cup.
      Save our best players for those games IMHO…

  3. Various separate thoughts of mine: Firstly, I never saw a super star in Kanu. For my liking he was far too laid back, even lazy, slow paced but a great dribbler and a good guy. But that did not add up to a superstar , not even remotely in the league of such as HENRY, BERGKANP, PIRES, VIERA, and co. He was a luxury player and but for that hattrick in 15 mins at Chelsea, his “legend” would be far less , at least outside Nigeria, where it must be said, nationalism is unhealthily biased and excitably expressed on here, more often than not.

    I ask myself what did Nigerians do before KANU came on board? It seems most Nigerians only discovered their undoubted Arsenal passion from Kanu onwards. Fooball is far older and far more meaningful to most of us than merely from Kanu onwards.

    Point two: Iwobi did indeed show early talent and is another good guy. No doubt of that! But he is not remotely special and now at Everton and no longer esp young, is destined for a middling, though PREM class career. But he is no loss to us and we did well to get £30-£35 mill for him , even in todays market. I have nothing against Nigeria excpot the amount of excitable, shallow thinking and constant hype , much of it about Nigerian players that come from that country. It is great that Nigeria massively supports Arsenal, as it certainly does and that is in a large measure due to Kanu.

    I look forward to the day when a Nigerian Gooner writes an article on here that is unbiased, considered and rational. Thus far, that is a raritiy! Not unique but still rare!

    1. As for Saka, my take is that he seems atalented playere and has made a good start but is still very young. I have high hopes, even expectations, that his career will exceed KANU’S , though I do not share the over enthusiasm about Kanus effectiveness , overall, in our shirt. I always considered him a luxury player. I see more work rate already in Saka than Kanu ever showed.

      1. well said Jon
        nationalism is often synonymous of utter bias and hype.Sadly we ,in the third world, are yet to understand it.Mitterand once said”nationalism is war”.algerians are laughably seeing Mahrez better than Aguiro !!

    2. Then answer this simple question Jon, would you In your long years of being an Arsenal fan still have spent the same number of years supporting Arsenal if you were born and bred in detroit, michigan?
      What is football if not Nationalistic for the most part of it? Otherwise there won’t be countries playing against each other in world tournaments would there?
      It is not entirely wrong to start to develop passion for a club and football in general because of a star that plays for that club from your country. Do you know how many French players have come out to say they started supporting and watching Arsenal play because of Henry? Or how many Brazilians supported clubs because of Ronaldo and all the Brazilian stars? Football is nothing if not nationalistic. Why do Arsenal football club try to go on Asian tours? Why did Arsenal football club distance themselves from ozil’s China comments even when it had nothing to do with football? Don’t tell me football is not nationalistic and not all Nigerians started to support arsenal because of kanu. A lot of Nigerians would tell you Jay Jay okocha is better, even Nigerian Arsenal fans but okocha never played for Arsenal did he? There are die hard Man utd fans in Nigeria and they are so many. Ighalo is the first Nigerian player in man utd. Renders your whole point baseless really.

      1. Thanks for this! Kanu won the champions league with Ajax but I will say that there are 1,000 times more Arsenal fans than Ajax fans in Nigeria, this is not hyperbolic but fact. If Jon has a problem with Nationalism then this is not the right context!
        And for Kanu’s luxury play, was due to heart issues he had while still playing for inter Milan…
        You can check the Kanu Heart Foundation for the facts.

  4. Yeh neither of the above hes his own guy and seems more like young walcot when he looked good hope now is the young management can lead him on a better path than those 3

  5. I guess raising a pertinent observation is deemed to be an attack towards this article, well, l meant no harm, just the reality

    1. You did three lines of comment. One was about the article and the rest was questioning his nationality. I saw no contribution to the debate. By all means, question the article, put your own point of view across etc I have no problem with that.

  6. We can sell Kola as Saka has been very impressive at LB. I was concerned at first, but he has good insticts, recovery pace, and he really contributes on the offensive end.

    I like Kola, but selling him makes financial sense, and better for the club in the long run.

  7. He should be turned into a left-side midfielder. Just imagine the trio of Tierney, Saka and Martinelli down the left!! He seems to have adapted extraordinarily well and quickly from being a LW to being a LB. Because of his defensive AND attacking capabilities, midfield would seem to me his best position. And as to the subect of the post, he is going to be better than Kanu and Iwobi put together.

  8. We have a few fantastic young players but that doesn’t mean the team will do well with the all in it, we might have to sell one or two and buy the right jigsaw puzzle peace to have the compleat picture

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