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Martin Keown believes that Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka looks a better player than £72m summer signing Nicolas Pepe after his superb display in the Europa League against Frankfurt.
The Gunners secured a remarkable 3-0 victory away in Frankfurt on Thursday night and the 18-year-old Saka caught the eye with a sparkling performance.
It was the young forward’s first appearance of the season as he produced two assists and a tremendous goal of his own to guide his team to the commanding win.
Keown compared Saka’s performance to those of Pepe who arrived from Lille this summer and has failed to make such an impact as yet.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international has appeared in all five of Arsenal’s Premier League games so far this campaign and came off the bench in Frankfurt but is yet to score and has provided just one assist.
‘They toil away, trying to get young players in and they’ve found one in Saka,’ Keown told BT Sport. ‘You think of the way Pepe is playing at the minute, they paid £72m for him and this kid looked better than him tonight.
‘By the way, [Joe] Willock as well, he’s got his reward, this has been a breakthrough moment for him. He got a little bit lucky, but that’s all 100% the academy, that first goal for Arsenal.
‘When Saka gets the ball [for the second goal], it shows composure, he’s passing it into the goal, it’s a beautiful finish. To think he’s 18 years of age.’
Joe Willock opened the scoring for Arsenal in Germany with a deflected finish 38 minutes into the game as his impressive progression continues.
Keown said of the 20-year-old: ‘I think this is the exuberance of young players. I think this is a breakthrough moment for Willock.
‘He’s been a bit rushed, lacks a little bit of composure, but I love his energy and he gets his reward tonight to put Arsenal in front.’