Arsenal have 28 reasons to sign dream Bukayo Saka partner and beat Liverpool to 'next Neymar'


Arsenal have to become more savvy in the transfer market to ensure that they don't fall behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in years to come.

The Gunners' business in the market this summer has seen them tipped to challenge Pep Guardiola's side for the Premier League title race. The club-record arrival of Declan Rice has already reaped the early awards, though Jurrien Timber's ACL injury and Kai Havertz's struggles to adapt to the role asked by Mikel Arteta in midfield have left some questioning the £200million spending.

Timber's long-term absence has left Arteta short in defence and West Ham's signing of Mohammed Kudus means the Gunners' options in attack are limited behind Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka.

As mentioned before, the phrase of being more 'savvy' comes to mind. The idea of signing players unknown to many hasn't been a popular one in north London, but it's a niche that other teams have been successful in. Liverpool's double investment in Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo fits that bracket rather well, as does Manchester City's recent signing of Jeremy Doku.

The combination of young, talented players at a bargain price from outside of one of Europe's top five divisions is a market that Arsenal are yet to fully inherit. However, a new name in the Netherlands could present a perfect opportunity to do so. PSV Eindhoven winger Johan Bakayoko has emerged as one of the nation's most-exciting players having emerged as a first team regular in the Eredivisie following Gakpo and Noni Madueke's exits.

The 20-year-old registered 10 goal contributions last season and has played every single game of PSV's opening seven games this campaign. He has four assists in four appearances in the Champions League already, playing a key role in Peter Bosz side's progressing to the group stage for the first time since 2018.

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Reports have suggested that Liverpool are hoping to sign Bakayoko. It is also understood that PSG are lining-up a €25million (£21.4m) bid for the Belgian, a bid that is expected to fall short of PSV's valuation. Last season, former Manchester United striker and PSV head coach, Ruud van Nistelrooy, claimed the youngster would cost at least €30million (£25.7m).

Burnley have already seen two bids rejected by PSV, with his services set to be in high demand in the final hours of the transfer window. But where do Arsenal come into this?

Whilst there hasn't been any indication of interest from Arteta's men, there's evidence to suggest that he could be a perfect signing. A left-footed right winger, a specific role that most clubs seek in today's game, Bakayoko occupies the position held down by Saka. Behind the PFA Young Player of the Year is Reiss Nelson and Leandro Trossard.

If Arsenal are to continue their upwards trajectory, more quality is required in the attacking ranks. Like Saka, Bakayoko's style of play mirrors the Gunners hero with him having a tendency to hug the touchline before cutting in-field.

EuroEliteScout have claimed Bakayoko's statistical profile matches with that of Neymar in 2015/16, when he was part of Barcelona's elite front three with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. However, Total Football Analysis' verdict of the PSV star is perhaps more appealing.

They have compared him to Saka. At 20, the potential to grow into and learn off one of the best wingers in football is perfect. And when diving into his FBref statistics, it's important to remember that these numbers are in comparison to the divisions outside of the so-called 'big five' leagues, Champions League and Europa League.

Bakayoko is in the 90th percentile or better for 28 different measurements. For metrics like shots on target, progressive carries and successful take-ons, the Belgian is in the top two. His statistics also demonstrate his pressing ability, with the youngster ranking high in the 'tackles in the attacking third'.

There's enough evidence to see why some of Europe's big clubs are interested in Bakayoko. His signing would be different to the ones seen in the past at Arsenal, but he could be the perfect partner to Saka for years to come.

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