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Alexandre Lacazette has urged Bukayo Saka to put pen to paper on a new contract after the youngster produced another impressive performance in Arsenal’s 1-0 win away to Olympiacos.
The round of 32 first leg clash was Mikel Arteta’s first European match in charge of Arsenal and the Spaniard will be pleased to head back to the Emirates with a crucial away goal.
Saka, 18, who set up Nicolas Pepe with a outstanding piece of play in Arsenal’s victory over Newcastle, was again the provider on Thursday night with a sublime assist at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
The teenager put the ball on a plate for Lacazette and the Frenchman made no mistake from close range to give the visitors the lead with nine minutes remaining of the match.
It was Saka’s ninth assist in what’s been a remarkable campaign for the makeshift left-back, but the youngster’s future still hangs in the balance after talks over a new deal hit a stumbling block. Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all registered an interest in Saka whose deal is due to expire next year.
After benefiting from another piece of brilliance from Saka in Athens, Lacazette pleaded with his team-mate to extend his contract in north London.
‘Difficult game last night but happy to get on the score sheet. Thanks to the team for the hard work and the travelling fans for your support,’
Lacazette posted on Instagram. Saka was quick to respond in the comments and said, “Our number 9” to which Lacazette replied: “sign please
Saka’s display in Greece earned special praise from Robin van Persie who compared the Englishman’s passing ability to that of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Dennis Bergkamp.
‘Ryan Giggs used to give those passes, Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Scholes,’ the ex-Arsenal forward said on BT Sport. ‘This is like ordering your striker to move into the danger zone. It’s actually world-class. Really, really good.
‘This is not simple. This is very good, world-class. He makes it look easy but this pass, like I said, only the great players can give those passes.
‘Most crosses there would be kicked away by the defender and would be shot too high or too low with no idea. ‘But this is a pass with an idea. This is a pass with a message, and that is what you want from your players.’
Van Persie added: ‘He’s really taking his chance, and that’s nice to see from a young kid to really grab his chance and play for his future. ‘And he’s doing it so well. It’s so nice to see.’
Mikel Arteta claimed that Saka had been born with a special ‘gift’ after his performance helped Arsenal to a crucial away win at Olympiacos.
‘I’m really pleased with the way he has developed. And I’m really pleased with the way he’s handling these situations because there’s a lot of highlight on him at the moment, but he’s still really humble,’ the Arsenal head coach said.
‘He’s still as keen to meet with my assistant, willing to improve. He’s a great kid and he makes big decisions in the final third. ‘He’s not someone who hides. He’s got the vision and the ability to execute when the spaces are really tight. That’s a gift.’