Arsenal could have just saved millions in the transfer market by signing sensational new right-winger – and no one noticed

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka during the pre season friendly between FC Nurnberg and Arsenal at Max-Morlock Stadion on July 13, 2023 in Nuremberg, Germany.
(Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal are spending big this summer, with Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber the first three pieces of an expensive jigsaw. 

The Gunners finished second to Manchester City last term after a lack of depth derailed their aspirations but have reacted accordingly. But though three top-class stars are joining – one already through the door, the other two on the cusp of announcements – there is still work to be done with this side. 

Rumours indicate Arsenal are chasing another full-back, with Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Henrichs both linked. There's a need for another new midfielder, should Thomas Partey leave. Oh, and there's the 'Bukayo Saka deputy' conundrum.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta before a training session on July 11, 2023 in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has plenty to consider this summer in terms of incomings (Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Saka is about as important to Arsenal as any player at any of the top sides in the Premier League. After all, he's played in every league match for Arteta in the past two years and Arteta was even fine entering last season without a natural deputy to the England starlet. 

Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli have played right-wing in a pinch, Gabriel Jesus has played on that flank for City and Reiss Nelson offers width there – but if Arsenal bring someone in, it's a delicate balance. You need someone willing to be an obvious deputy yet offer the kind of quality that Saka has – and that's a hard sell to a potential new signing.

The answer might have been under their noses this whole time: Ethan Nwaneri. The Premier League's youngest-ever player is still just 16 but signed a new deal recently, in a move that many thought was purely Arsenal's future. What if it actually helps Arteta in the present, though?

Nwaneri played at right-wing against Nurnberg in preseason recently, having slotted into midfield, on the left and up front in the past. He's still so young – but so was Saka when he broke through. With Arteta proving in the past that he's willing to give youngsters a chance when they're due one – not least with Nwaneri himself cameoing against Brentford last season – it's possible that he might get more minutes next season.

Ethan Nwaneri (R) of Arsenal applauds the fans next to Gabriel Martinelli following the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Arsenal FC at Brentford Community Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Brentford, England.

Ethan Nwaneri played his first Premier League game at 15 years old (Image credit: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Of course, Nwaneri can't be expected to feature too much – and this is a team that are fighting for the title. It would be a burden on the youngster if he has to step in too much for Saka.

But with the Gunners facing the prospect of more matches next season, opportunities may come for a star who the club were desperate to tie down to one of the biggest deals they've ever handed out to a player of this age. If you're old enough, you're good enough, after all…

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal transfer news is ramping up this summer, with the Gunners set to loosen their wage structure to attract the best players.

Jurrien Timber looks to be next to joinMoises Caicedo is heavily linkedXavi Simons is on the radarIvan Fresneda could join, though Arsenal could sell £100m worth of players, too. Romeo Lavia is in the crosshairs – though Liverpool want him, too

Meanwhile Folarin Balogun is being valued at £50m.

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