Liverpool are amongst those linked with a possible move to sign Bukayo Saka this summer, and while reports claim we will turn down offers, can we really afford to?
The 18 year-old has been amongst our best performers this season, in his first year as a regular in the first-team, and has been attracting deserved interest.
Our club has found themselves in a slightly awkward situation with the youngster only having just over a year remaining on his current deal, and with Saka having so far turned down our offer of a new and improved contract, but we are said to be unwilling to discuss his exit this summer.
It remains to be seen what the issue was with our initial offer of a contract, but we do know that the longer he refuses to extend his deal, the more power he will have in negotiations over a new one, especially if he continues to set the division alight on the pitch.
A similar situation has arisen with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although the two players are very much at other ends of their careers.
The Gabonese striker has made it clear over the years of his intention to play in Spain, and with little time left to play at the top level, you could understand if he wanted to chase that dream if the opportunity arose.
Rival Premier League clubs are also believed to be interested in his signature, but you would hope that he would only quit the club to complete those career goals in Spain.
While I don’t think PEA’s future is in our hands any longer, and it solely comes down to whether a big side in Spain are willing to pay his asking price, with Saka things could be different.
At his age, any fee on a free transfer would be determined by a governing body, while Aubameyang would simply be able to leave for nothing in 12 months. Also Saka may not have any intention to leave the club at all. It may well be that he turned down the offer because the wage wasn’t on the level that he expected after breaking into the first-team, or that he wanted promises on his first-team participation over the near future.
The Coronavirus has put clubs into a rocky position when it comes to finances, and much of what will happen this summer is still up in the air, but the feeling is that most clubs will not be spending large amounts in the coming window. Our club is certainly not expected to come out the other end of this with a huge transfer budget, and I do worry that a reasonable offer may well tempt us to consider the departure of Saka, although I’m still not sure he would want to go.
Will Arsenal be able to adamantly turn down any offers for Saka or will we be in a spot where any exit will have to be considered?