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Arteta reveals he is confident Saka will be available for West Brom and remains coy on Kolasinac exit

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 26, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Andrew Boyers - Pool/Getty Images)

Saka to be available

The Arsenal fanbase held their collective breath when Bukayo Saka appeared to pick up an injury in a collision during their side’s 1-0 win against Brighton on Tuesday evening. The England international continued on after taking the knock to his ankle, but was soon substituted for Dani Ceballos.

The 19-year-old looked in good spirits on the bench, though, and was pictured laughing despite having been forced off. Nevertheless, there were lingering doubts as to whether he would be available for Arsenal’s next outing, against West Brom.

As such, it came as a major boost this morning when Mikel Arteta confirmed during a press conference that Saka should be available on Saturday.

“I hope he is available, we will see today if he is training or not. He has played a lot of minutes as well. I am confident he will be okay for the game,” said the Arsenal boss.

It has been the likes of Saka and other youngsters such as Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli who have dragged the Gunners out of a desperate mire over the last week:

“Yes, but that should be a given by any player, that they are always trying to earn and get better,” Arteta said when asked if Saka is desperate to keep learning. “For me the biggest thing he has done in the last few months is the personality he plays with and the responsibility he takes in the decision he is willing to take when things are not going well, and the impact he has had for the team to get results. At that age, it is not common at all.”

Arteta reveals he is confident Saka will be available for West Brom and remains coy on Kolasinac exit

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Bukayo Saka after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images)

“But that is his nature, and he wants to evolve that – you could see that his team-mates trust him and want to give him that responsibility, and that’s great because then you don’t have one or two players, you have more players. He is a great example as well, for any young player to play with that commitment, that passion, and that courage, when you play for a big team.”

If the young England international is not available to face West Brom, Arteta will have plenty of options to replace him. Nicolas Pepe is of course still waiting for regular game time.

Arteta coy on Kolasinac exit

Reports emanating from Germany have hinted that Schalke are in the final stages of agreeing a deal with Arsenal to sign Bosnian international Sead Kolasinac on loan until the end of the season:

Arteta was therefore inevitably asked about the prospect of the left-back leaving the club, but remained cautious in confirming any imminent transfer:

“I cannot confirm anything yet. We are working on a couple of things and obviously the window is going to bring a lot of news. Some are true, some are not. Whenever we have something to say, we will announce it,” he said.

“We’ve had some conversations around a few players and whether we can find some loans because the numbers we have in the squad at the moment are really big. Again, we cannot confirm anything yet.”

Arsenal do have a squad which is bloated, leading to the omissions of both Mesut Ozil and Sokratis from the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads for the season. The north Londoners will therefore hope to do some outgoing January business, but could also seek out a new signing or two, too.

Sead Kolasinac is close to leaving on loan to Schalke in the first of many for Arsenal this January

Arsenal boss Arteta confirms Willian injury/Provides Saka update


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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