Arsenal’s newfound assist king Bukayo Saka is enjoying life at the Emirates Stadium having laid strong hold on a regular spot in Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up this season.
Despite being deployed as a makeshift left-back by Arteta, the 18-year-old has been phenomenal at the final half of the pitch.
He already has 10 assists to his name, and he is obviously not going to stop at that as there are still 11 Premier League matches before the season ends. Carabao Cup and FA Cup also offer him more chances to add to his tally before the end of the season.
As much as Saka’s current blistering form has given him the chance to be an important figure at the Emirates Stadium, the player now finds himself in the middle of an intense international tug-of-war between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Three Lions of England.
Born to Nigerian parents, the 18-year-old is eligible to represent the three-time African champions, and he has the equal chance of featuring for Gareth Southgate’s side.
Though it is speculated that the Nigerian FA are ready to convince the youngster over playing for his father’s land, the European powerhouse are reportedly leading the race for his services.
Having played for England’s U16, U17, U18 and U19, progressing to the Three Lions squad won’t require much stress or change of playing pattern.
However, he will certainly need to overcome intense competitions from highly experienced players if he must get regular playing-time for the Three Lions.
Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, Tottenham-owned Newcastle star Danny Rose and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw are all ahead of him in the pecking order of left-backs or left wing-backs available for selection.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and United’s Jesse Lingard are also competing for a place at both flanks. Hence, choosing England over Nigeria means the player must develop his game in order for him to break into this formidable team.
Unlike playing for England, Saka will need to submit a change of allegiance document to FIFA before he could feature for the West African country.
He will equally need to get familiar with the country’s playing patterns— although, it’s not too different from Southgate’s tactical approach.
Nonetheless, he has better chances of breaking into Genort Rohr’s starting line-up judging by his work-rate and beautiful deliveries into opponent’s box.
Torino’s Ola Aina and Paderborn’s Jamilu, who are Rohr’s regular fullbacks, are not in good form for their respective clubs. This means Saka have a brighter opportunity of becoming the gaffer’s most trusted fullback in no time.
Having said that, it remains unknown if the youngster will follow Alex Iwobi’s footstep, who dumped England in favor of the African side, or he will imitate Tammy Abraham’s decision by ignoring Nigeria’s approach.