Former defender Martin Keown thinks Bukayo Saka would’ve made it into the starting XI of the famous Arsenal Invincibles team.
Saka is reportedly close to signing a new, long-term deal at the Emirates Stadium, with the England international top of Arsenal’s goals and assists charts this season.
The 21-year-old has not missed any of Arsenal’s last 65 league games, the longest run in the division, as Mikel Arteta’s side travel to Leicester City on Saturday looking to stay top of the table.
The Gunners are currently three points clear of second-placed Manchester City, with a game in hand, and they could extend that to six points before Pep Guardiola’s side face Bournemouth later in the day.
Keown sees Saka as key to Arsenal maintaining their current form for years to come with the Arsenal legend insisting the England international is currently the only player who would get into the famous Invincibles side.
Keown told talkSPORT: “They wouldn’t want to lose him, he’s a massive talent. The goals he scores, the assists, and also his mentality.
“I talked about The Invincibles and I said on the record he’s the one player, and there might be a few more to follow, that would be in that team.
“There would certainly be one or two there thinking, ‘Hold on, this kid’s going to have to play, I’m going to have to step aside’ – he’s that good.”
When asked if there had been progress towards a new contract for Saka and Arsenal team-mate William Saliba, Arteta told reporters on Friday: “We want to keep our best players. The players that we are developing. We want to create a long-term project here and we need our best players at the club.
“When it’s done, I can tell you more. But obviously we have the intention to extend the contract of our players and, when it’s done, it’s great news for the club.”
On sorting Saka’s contract situation, Keown added: “It’s vital [that he signs a new deal].
“[William] Saliba is another one who’s really caught the eye, [Gabriel] Martinelli too, all of them 21 years of age.
“I think at the club there’s a real sense of satisfaction when a youngster comes through and it’s really important that they tie him [Saka] down and give him what he deserves.
“He’s a wonderful talent, he’s actually granite as well, every game I go to he comes in for a lot of stick from the opposition.
“You’ve got to protect yourself but you hope the referees look after you. Last week he was close to leaving the field and half the week he hasn’t trained.”