Jamie Carragher knows a talented young player when he sees one.
This is a man who shared a room with a fresh-faced Michael Owen at Liverpool, before lining up alongside Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Philippe Coutinho, Wayne Rooney and co when they were just getting started in the game.
And, when Arsenal’s 18-year-old wing wizard Bukayo Saka burst onto the scene in the autumn, it took Carragher a matter of minutes to realise that The Gunners had something very special on their hands.
“What I love about what he does is he reads and smells the danger. I thought he was really good tonight, I was really impressed with him,” Carragher told Sky Sports (30 September, 10pm) after Saka produced a performance well beyond his tender years in a draw with Manchester United.
“To come in at 18, away at Old Trafford in an Arsenal team that aren’t playing great and isn’t a great team, that role he had, not just in the goal but throughout the game, he can be really proud of his performance tonight.”
“The biggest compliment you can give him is that Unai Emery took (£72 million Nicholas) Pepe off when he could have brought the young lad off. 18, Old Trafford away from home, but he takes the big money signing off.
“He looked dangerous and aggressive.”
It almost goes without saying, then, that Carragher would relish the prospect of Saka making a shock switch from North London to Merseyside in the summer. Liverpool, it seems, are well aware that the England U19 international has just 18 months remaining on his current £3,000-a-week deal at the Emirates, according to The Mail.
Arsenal are desperate to tie him down to a new long-term contract which, considering that Saka has already produced three goals and six assists at first-team level, is likely to include a substantial pay rise.
An explosive left winger who has drawn comparisons with a certain spiky haired Welshman who made a rather big splash on the other side of North London, Saka is already facing a potentially career-defining decision just five months after making his first-team debut.
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