Bukayo Saka opens up on Arsenal title collapse: ‘It really hurts so much’
Bukayo Saka admits Arsenal’s failure in the title race “really hurts”, but remains convinced they are moving in the right direction after committing his future to the club.
Saka on Tuesday became the best-paid player at Arsenal after signing a four-year contract that is worth £300,000 a week with bonuses.
Tying their talisman down to a new deal is a huge boost for the Gunners as they bid to mount another title challenge next season.
Arsenal led the way for much of this year, sitting top for a record 248 days, but faded over the past six weeks to allow Manchester City to be crowned champions last weekend.
Saka has admitted the way Arsenal have tailed off is painful, however he believes they should be optimistic about future success.
“We’re going in the right direction, like this,” Saka told Gunners legend Ian Wright, moving his hand towards the sky in an upward curve. “I have seen a lot of change [over the years]. Obviously speaking about this season, it hurts a lot.
“It really hurts so much to even think about how we’ve ended this season and what could have been. But one thing I can say is, like you said, since the last two or three years that I’ve been playing, I’ve seen this team and the club grow.
“Time is on our side. You can look at our team and a lot of the players are young. We’re hungry, and a lot of us haven’t won trophies at Arsenal so we want to achieve big things. If you watch the way we all speak, we want to win and we want to win here.”
Saka has enjoyed a brilliant season, scoring 14 goals and laying on 11 assists, but his form has led to him being targeted by opposition defenders.
Mikel Arteta has warned the 21-year-old that, as his star rises, he may come in for rough treatment and that he will have to learn to deal with it.
Despite being targeted, Saka has played in every Premier League game this season and insists he can handle whatever is thrown at him.
“Listen, I’m fine,” said Saka. “I don’t think you really need to worry about me.
“I think I have everything in place to be healthy, be on the pitch week in, week out. I’ve been able to play every game this season despite all the games and tackles, and so on and so forth.”