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


Mikel Arteta says he is ‘confident’ Bukayo Saka will be available for the match with West Brom but remained coy on Sead Kolasinac’s future.

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 fan base held a collective breath when Bukayo Saka was seemingly injured in a collision in the 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 after failing to be able to continue.

The 19-year-old looked in good spirits on the bench and was pictured laughing despite having to come off with his affliction, but there were lingering doubts as to whether he would be available for Arsenal’s next match against West Brom.

Mikel Arteta confirmed in his press conference ahead of the match with the Birmingham-based club, that Saka could be available for the game.

“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 Arteta

It has been the likes of Saka and the other young players such as Emile Smith-Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli that have dragged this Arsenal side out of a desperate mire.

“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 for the match against West Brom, Arteta will have plenty of options to replace him with. Nicolas Pepe still waiting for regular game time.

Arteta coy on Kolasinac exit

Reports emanating from Germany revealed 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 of course asked about the prospect of the left-back leaving the club but remained very cautious in answering the question and revealing very little about the situation.

“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 too big and led to the exile of both Mesut Ozil and Sokratis from the Premier League and Europa League squads. Arsenal will clearly look to do business in regards to outgoings but could also see the club push for a possible incoming to strengthen their squad should Arteta feel he needs it.

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

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# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 15 17 32
2 Manchester United FC 15 8 30
3 Leicester City FC 16 9 29
4 Everton FC 15 7 29
5 Aston Villa FC 14 14 26
6 Chelsea FC 16 13 26
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 15 11 26
8 Manchester City FC 14 9 26
9 Southampton FC 16 6 26
10 West Ham United FC 16 2 23
11 Leeds United 16 0 23
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 16 -6 21
13 Arsenal FC 16 -3 20
14 Crystal Palace FC 16 -9 19
15 Newcastle United FC 14 -7 18
16 Burnley FC 15 -11 16
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 16 -7 13
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 16 -24 8
20 Sheffield United FC 16 -19 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 9
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 5
Barnes, Harvey Leicester City FC 5
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 5
El Ghazi, Anwar Aston Villa FC 5