Arsenal's perfect Saka backup admits Gunners 'DREAM'

Willem Leijgraf
Willem Leijgraf
  • 29 Feb 2024 11:09 GMT
  • 4 min read
Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring against Burnley for Arsenal in the Premier League

Donyell Malen has said it would be a “dream” to return to Arsenal, with the in-form Borussia Dortmund star issuing a clear come-and-get-me plea to his former club.

Malen was available for sale during the January transfer window and attracted some interest from Liverpool and Manchester United among others.

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The Netherlands star appears open to joining either club, yet it is a return to Arsenal that is the 24-year-old attacker’s main goal.

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He previously spent a spell in the Gunners’ youth system from 2015-17 but admits that he had to move away after growing frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities and switched to PSV.

Even though Malen was only 18 at the time of this transfer, he felt that he was ready for the next step.

Donyell Malen
© IMAGO - Donyell Malen
Donyell Malen celebrates scoring for Dortmund
© IMAGO - Donyell Malen celebrates scoring for Dortmund

"Every now and then there are points in your football career where you have to make a decision," the multifunctional attacker told Voetbalzone. "I trained with the Arsenal first team as a 17- and 18-year-old and so I did make progress in that respect, but I thought: ‘I just have to play professional football.’

“I saw a lot of former teammates who were already doing that and I was still playing youth football. So I just knew it was the right thing to do and that's how I felt at the time. That's when I finally went to PSV.”

Arsenal is my favourite club. Would I go back? Yes
- Donyell Malen

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At PSV, Malen grew from the youth academy to become an absolute standout in the first team and, after a successful 2020/21 season, Dortmund moved to sign him.

The German side paid €30 million to sign him and now, three years after moving to the Bundesliga, the forward is ready for his next step.

“Because I played in England as a youth player, it remains a dream to one day play in the Premier League,” says Malen. “Arsenal is my favourite club. Would I go back? Yes, I played there as a youth player and really wanted to break through there.”

Just what Arsenal need

Arsenal will be in the market for a wide attacker in the summer, and Malen ticks key boxes for the club.

His versatility would allow him to provide genuine cover across the frontline, but crucially for Bukayo Saka, who is the one player in the Gunners' starting XI who cannot be easily replaced given the current squad.

Saka could finally get some proper backup in the form of Malen
© IMAGO - Saka could finally get some proper backup in the form of Malen

Malen can count on Dortmund's cooperation if there is any interest next summer.

According to BILD, BVB are short on cash and the club has therefore decided that the attacker can leave for the right amount.

According to the German newspaper, Dortmund would like to see a transfer fee of €40-50m.

Malen, who is under contract until 2026, has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of €37.1m.

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