Bukayo Saka has hinted he could be close to signing a new contract at Arsenal as the England forward said he “shares the confidence” of manager Mikel Arteta that an agreement is close.
The 20-year-old said he feels “loved” at the Emirates Stadium, where he has gone from academy graduate to an integral part of Arteta’s side.
Saka finished as Arsenal’s top goalscorer last season as he rose above the racist abuse he suffered after missing the deciding penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
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Having joined the club aged seven, Saka made his first-team debut under head coach Unai Emery in 2019 but has flourished under Arteta, making his 100th Premier League appearance in the recent win at Bournemouth.
He has two years remaining on his current deal but when asked if a new contract was in the offing for Saka earlier this month, Arteta replied: “I am very confident that we as a club and Bukayo, his family, his agent, everybody, we are very much aligned in what we want to achieve. And now it is about putting it on a piece of paper.”
Speaking after the Gunners came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 and maintain their perfect start to the Premier League campaign, Saka was asked about Arteta’s belief.
“Yes, I share his confidence,” he said.
“I really feel the love from my team-mates, my coaches and the fans as well. So yeah, I really feel loved here.”
Arteta’s close-knit bond with the club’s young talent has been a driving factor in recent improvements and Saka praised the Spaniard’s input.
“I feel like he’s always there for me,” he added.
“He knows when to speak to me, it’s not too much but it’s not too little and the different bits of advice he gives me are special and it makes such a difference.”
While Arsenal are flying high with four wins from four, Saka is yet to get off the mark this season and has not scored from open play since netting the winner at Aston Villa on March 19 – a run of of almost 21 hours – although he did score penalties against both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Villa are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night where Saka is aiming to up his game, although he insists he does not mind who is scoring the goals as long as Arsenal maintain their current form.
“I think I’m growing, going from strength to strength each game and I think Fulham was my best game yet and I want to kick on from that now,” he said.
“I feel like of course there’s still aspects where I need to improve and learn and each game I learn which positions I could have been, where I could have been to score, why I didn’t get a certain amount of shots or crosses and stuff like this.
“I watch and reflect on my games to try and improve. As long as we’re winning, anyone can score and I’m happy.”