Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta allayed any fears regarding Bukayo Saka’s fitness after previous reports claimed that he was playing through a ‘nagging injury’ while away on international duty. The Gunners are preparing for their trip to Everton on Sunday, where Arteta is expecting to be able to call upon Saka once again.
While Saka was in the England group, it was claimed that he was being plagued by a recurring Achilles injury, which has hindered him since last season despite being one of the most consistent and ever-present performers under Arteta.
“He’s fine,” Arteta said during his pre-match press conference on Friday when asked about Saka. “He trained normally today so there’s nothing to report there. Every player has pains or issues but it’s nothing to worry about.”
The Spanish boss explained that there had been only one player who was absent from training, Thomas Partey, who also missed the 3-1 win over Manchester United and international duty with Ghana through injury.
“He’s still a few weeks away,” Arteta added. “He’s got a muscle injury. He’s progressing well.” Though there will be internal concerns that Partey has picked up another muscle injury, similar to how he was kept out towards the tail end of last season.
One player that Arteta has no worries over is his captain Martin Odegaard, however, as the boss admitted that he wants the Norwegian to extend his stay at the Emirates – amid rumours that negotiations have begun over a new contract.
“He’s our captain, he’s a massive player for us,” Arteta explained. “Really important for now and the future. We want to keep him here for a long time I’m always optimistic. We’re really close with him and his agent. Whenever that’s confirmed we will announce it.”
Arteta had not faced the media since Nicolas Pepe departed for Turkish side Trabzonspor on a free transfer, admitting that there was “no point trying” when he was not the right fit for the club.
“I wasn’t involved in the process of that deal,” Arteta said. “What I can say about him as a person is he’s a phenomenal boy. It’s not his fault the amount of money we paid. When things are not working you have to move on. It’s no point trying when it’s not working.”