Arteta have already found a new Pires at Arsenal

Arsenal might have finally found a worthy successor for Robert Pires 14 years after the World Cup winning France international left the club with two Premier League titles under his belt.

Mikel Arteta could have a talent as big as Robert Pires already on his books.

The former Arsenal captain has hinted that he is working with a limited budget at the Emirates which will force the Spaniard to continue putting faith in his teenage prospects in north London.

The Gunners have had five players under the age of 20 find the back of the net in the Premier League so far this season, but one of those has stood out from the rest thanks to his creative ability.

While Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and particularly Gabriel Martinelli are ones to watch for the new season, Bukayo Saka might just be the most promising.

Comparisons with Pires have been made by supporters thanks to his impressive tally of 11 assists in all competitions, combined with his ability to bamboozle defenders around the edge of the box.

The two-time Premier League winner managed eight goals and nine assists in his first year at Highbury after joining from Marseille, and at that time he was already aged 26.

Legendary boss Arsene Wenger said of the creator after he left London: “Before his first cruciate injury he was the best player in the world in his position. We just gave him the ball and he would do the rest.

“I would have loved him to stay longer. He was such a great example. He is one of the greatest players to have played for us.”

Pires had a distinct style during his time at Arsenal which quickly endeared himself to supporters after he was chosen to replace Marc Overmars.

His brilliant close control and pinpoint passing gave him a tremendous record of 85 goals and 41 assists across 283 appearances, as well as four major trophies and a Champions League runners-up medal.

Saka, 18, has recently moved into a wide attacking role after covering well at left-back earlier in the season, and his current spot is where Arteta sees him thriving.

“I’m really pleased with the way he [Saka] has developed,” he said before the enforced break.

“And I’m really pleased with the way he’s handling these situations because there’s a lot of highlight on him at the moment, but he’s still really humble.

“He’s still as keen to meet with my assistant, willing to improve. He’s a great kid and he makes big decisions in the final third.

“He’s not someone who hides. He’s got the vision and the ability to execute when the spaces are really tight. That’s a gift.”

Arsenal take on relegation threatened Aston Villa at the Emirates on Tuesday evening with the chance of climbing up to eighth in the table before their tie against Watford on the final day.