Arsenal icon has ‘a problem’ with Saka transfer value due to Ronaldo

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Arsenal icon William Gallas has warned that placing a high transfer value on Bukayo Saka could create a problem for the young winger as his contract situation continues. The former Gunners defender used Cristiano Ronaldo as an example of how putting too much pressure on Saka with an exorbitant fee could harm his career.

The 21-year-old is understood to have verbally agreed a bumper new contract with the club which will make him one of the club’s highest earners. But while the contract goes unsigned, there remains a chance that one of Europe’s biggest clubs could pounce for the England international.

Saka is thought to be viewed as indispensable by his club after scoring 10 goals and assisting nine in the Premier League, but a typical market value would put him firmly in the bracket of £100m given the prices mentioned for his England colleagues Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham.

Gallas admitted he was concerned over spiralling transfer values attributed to some players and said it would be “ridiculous” if Saka, continuing at his current rate, could be worth up to £400m.

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“I always have a problem with the value of a player,” Gallas said, speaking to Genting Casino. “If Saka already costs £100million at 21 years old and he carries on developing at the rate he is now, how much will he be in five years? £300m or £400m? Come on, come on. This is getting ridiculous!

“Sometimes clubs are very clever because everybody is desperate to sign players for big fees, but sometimes these players disappear. I don’t want to see a player like Saka, who is a really good young player who is improving every game, disappear in a few years.”

Gallas used the example of Cristiano Ronaldo and his world-record switch to Real Madrid in 2009 as a realistic value of how players should be measured, with the Portuguese signing for £80m from Manchester United 14 years ago.

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That figure has been exceeded seven times since, most recently by Enzo Fernandez after signing for Chelsea for £107m, and the Frenchman, 42, thinks the media have a part to play in meaning that players are not valued according to their actual ability.

“Don’t put too much pressure on his shoulders, that always comes from the media and you never know what that impact will be on the players,” Gallas added. “You need to give players time to prove [themselves], to get more experience, to be strong, to deal with all that pressure on their shoulders.

“Cristiano Ronaldo was very strong when he moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United, but he had already won a Balon d’Or. His value was around £80m and that was his real value. Nowadays, £100m players haven’t won anything yet! So that is why I have a problem with it.”

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