Arsenal ace Saka sends clear message to Arteta before title run-in

Martinelli hopes Saka signs new deal to remain at Arsenal

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Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has told his manager Mikel Arteta that he wants to play as much as possible as the club enter a crucial period in their season. The Gunners are in pole position to claim their first Premier League title in 19 years and are in with a chance of winning the Europa League too, with Arteta’s men fighting on two fronts, and Saka is keen to play his part.

The 21-year-old, who was named Young Player of the Year at the London Football Awards on Monday, has played a pivotal role for the north London club this season, scoring 11 goals and registering nine assists, with 40 appearances for club and country. The only game he has missed was the Carabao Cup defeat to Brighton in November, highlighting his incredible fitness levels.

Arsenal will be keen to protect their star winger, although Mikel Arteta recently suggested that top players should be able to play 70 games a season.

And Saka is ready to keep his place in the team as Arsenal battle Manchester City for the title before taking a long break, telling his boss he wants to carry on contributing.

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“I’m just happy to be on the pitch,” he told the Evening Standard. “If I put it two ways: would I rather be injured or on the pitch, I want to be on the pitch. If I’d asked myself when I was younger where I would want to be [now], it was on the pitch playing for Arsenal every week, competing at the highest level. So I take it, I’m happy.

“I just want to continue to push to the end of the season and then in the summer I can lock myself in my room and sleep for the rest of the summer!”

Saka is expected to be back in the starting lineup for the home leg against Sporting Lisbon, with the tie finely poised at 2-2 for the next encounter at the Emirates Stadium. However, some club icons such as Ian Wright have called on Arteta to wrap Saka in cotton wool, with important league clashes against Chelsea and City still to come.

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But Saka, a devout Christian, is happy to put faith in himself to remain unscathed during the latter stages of the season, although he admitted he has been fortunate to avoid picking up an injury.

“Honestly, I said in a group that he must have a clause in his contract that says ‘I have to play’. Because I’m thinking in that particular game, surely you might give him a rest in that game,” he said on his podcast Wrighty’s House.

“Some tackles, I could have been lucky [to avoid injury] but I wouldn’t call it luck. I believe in God and he’s taking care of me. I’ve just been staying fit and hopefully I can continue doing my best for Arsenal so we can have some happiness at the end of the season.”

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