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Arsenal could save millions after signing extremely talented back-up to Bukayo Saka

Do Arsenal really need to sign a back-up option for Bukayo Saka this summer?

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Arsenal are set to have one of the biggest transfer windows in the clubs history after completing the signings of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice so far this summer.

The Gunners finished second to Manchester City last season after leading the way in the Premier League for the majority of the 2022/23 campaign. Arsenal lacked squad depth at a crucial time of the season which handed Manchester City the advantage in the title race and Mikel Arteta is determined to make sure the same doesn’t happen again next season.

After completing the signing of Kai Havertz last month and Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice more recently, Arsenal aren’t set to slow down with the club reportedly after two more incomings before the window slams shut at the end of August.

Rumours have indicated that Arsenal are chasing another full-back with Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Henrichs both linked with moves to North London this summer. A new midfielder could also arrive if Thomas Partey is to leave and a potential back-up to Bukayo Saka.

Bukayo Saka featured in every single Premier League game for the Gunners last season which illustrates just how important the player is to Mikel Arteta’s team. He might be only 21-years-old but he’s one of the clubs highest earners for a reason. If Bukayo Saka plays well, Arsenal typically get three points so finding an adequate option to cover for him ahead of next season is still on the to-do list this summer.

With Champions League football back at the Emirates Stadium for the first time in seven years next season, there’s no way Bukayo Saka will play every game for Arsenal like he did last season. Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson were both deployed on the right-wing at times during the 2022/23 campaign. However Nelson is seen more as a back-up option for Gabriel Martinelli and the Belgian is expected to feature more in central midfield next season, now Granit Xhaka has left the club.

READ MORE: Arsenal make final transfer decision on defender with clubs interested.

Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz can do a job out on the right but they’re both not natural wingers. Folarin Balogun came on for Bukayo Saka against FC Nurnberg in the first game of pre-season, however again he’s not a natural winger and there’s still doubt that he’ll be at the club come the beginning of the season.

So will Arsenal have to go into the market and spend millions on a right-winger this summer? The answer is maybe not, as the option Mikel Arteta is looking for could have been at the club this whole time… Ethan Nwaneri.

Ethan Nwaneri in action for Arsenal against FC Nurnberg. [Image Credit: Getty Images]

Ethan Nwaneri recently put speculation regarding his future to bed as he signed a new long-term deal in North London.  The Premier League’s youngest player might just be 16-years-old but if his performance against FC Nurnberg was anything to go by then he didn’t look out of place within the Arsenal senior team.

Ethan Nwaneri came on and interchanged extremely well with Folarin Balogun on the right-wing. He’s a versatile player who played in midfield and all across the front three for the Arsenal U21s last season. Despite only being 16-years-old he’s expected to get more minutes in the Arsenal first-team next season.

Of course, Nwaneri can’t be expected to play too much for the Gunners next season as it’s a team who are planning to fight for the title. However there’s no doubt Ethan Nwaneri could be brought on in games that are already won to save Bukayo Saka some minutes when games are being played every three days next season.

Bukayo Saka broke into the Arsenal side at just 18-years-old and there’s no reason why Ethan Nwaneri can’t do the same if the club keep a clear pathway free for him to make it. In my opinion signing a back-up right winger for a big amount of money doesn’t seem like the best option when you’ve already got a young star the the club who’s destined to make it to the very top.

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