Bukayo Saka has come a long way since making his first senior Arsenal start.
The Hale End academy product was handed his competitive debut by former Gunners head coach Unai Emery in a Europa League group phase win over Vorskla in the 2018/2019 campaign.
And it turned out to be an eventful night at the Emirates Stadium for the then 17-year-old as he was denied an assist by the offside flag, went close to scoring and produced a couple of brilliant pieces of skills to get past his marker.
Such was Saka’s impressive outing that he was compared to Cristiano Ronaldo by former Liverpool striker Michael Owen, who waxed lyrical about the winger.
“He looked really nervous at the start of the game, myself and Martin [Keown] were both talking about it,” Owen said on BT Sport at the time. “But he certainly grew into the game. Just him having the courage to run at players was really refreshing to see.
“Some of the skill… I watched Ronaldo doing this the other day for Juventus.
“It’s absolutely brilliant and so unlucky that it wasn’t given a goal.
“He’s just different class and by the end of the game, his confidence was oozing.
“I just wish he hadn’t gone for power here (a missed chance) you have got to be brave in that situation, I’m not going to critisice him because he’s only 17 but you have got to be brave.”
Meanwhile, Owen’s co-pundit on the night in Gunners legend Martin Keown also heaped praise on Saka.
“He’s a natural talent, it’s another one that Arsenal have produced, ” he added.
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It’s safe to say that both Owen and Keown have been proved right as Saka has brushed up on his finishing to become a regular in the Arsenal side in the past three years.
Furthermore, as per CIES Football Observatory‘s astonishing transfer values, the 19-year-old’s valuation has emerged in recent months – and it is estimated to be between €90million and €120m (£77m and £103m).
That is quite the rise since breaking into the first-team picture in 2018.