Forget Neto! Arsenal's perfect Saka understudy plays in Serie A

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 27 Feb 2024 13:31 GMT
  • 9 min read
Matias Soule, Bukayo Saka, Arsenal

Arsenal want to sign a new right-winger in January, but they may be targeting the wrong players in Pedro Neto and Nico Williams.

The Gunners desperately need depth on their right flank. Bukayo Saka has been forced to be the Gunners' ironman on that side due to a shortage of options and some injury problems earlier in the season already made it clear how vulnerable Arsenal can be without the 22-year-old.

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Saka has been in absolutely stunning form this term, emphatically proving those wrong who claim that he isn't world-class. The England international has netted an absurd 16 goals and 13 assists in 34 games so far, recently becoming the first Arsenal player to score in five consecutive Premier League outings since Olivier Giroud in 2015 and the first Englishman to do so since Ian Wright in 1994.

This makes it difficult to imagine that players like Pedro Neto or Nico Williams would consider moving to the Emirates given that they would have to compete with the 22-year-old. They are already established stars playing at a very high level and will want to be undisputed starters at their next club, something that the north London side simply can't offer them as long as Saka is around.

Soule a viable alternative?

Moreover, Arsenal would have to break the bank in the case of Neto. As FootballTransfers exclusively revealed, Wolves will demand a club-record fee for the Portuguese winger in the summer and paying that kind of money for an understudy to Saka doesn't seem the shrewdest of moves.

The Gunners may have to look at potential alternatives and they would be well advised to take a long hard look at Matias Soule. The Juventus wonderkid has been in brilliant form on loan at Frosinone this term, notching 10 goals and two assists.

Matias Soule
© IMAGO - Matias Soule

His form has attracted Premier League attention and one of his former coaches, Ignacio Mendez, has tipped him to eventually succeed in England. “For me, Matias is a Premier League player: for his way of playing, for his dynamism, for his speed. It would be great growth for him.”

Like Saka, the Argentine is a skilful, left-footed right-winger who likes to cut inside and drive at goal. Intriguingly, Juventus are expected to cash in on Soule in the summer in a bid to raise funds for big-name acquisitions. In January, the youngster was linked with a Saudi switch, with talk being of a fee in the region of €30 million.

-+ Matías Soulé

Even if the Bianconeri were to demand a bit more after a full season of impressive performances in Serie A, Soule would still likely be a cheaper option than Williams and certainly Neto. Moreover, data experts SciSports believe that the 20-year-old still has bags of potential, enough to become a better player than Emile Smith Rowe and Leandro Trossard.

Given his age and relative inexperience at the top level, Soule would probably be much more open to being Saka's understudy than Arsenal's other targets. With the Gunners fighting on four fronts again next term, the youngster would still see enough minutes to continue developing despite being a backup.

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