‘Star Boy’ of Arsenal Bukayo Saka is now the second-most popular player on Dream Team

by duceditor

Before the new season, only Erling Haaland (£8.5m) is more popular among Dream Team managers than Bukayo Saka (£6m).

Despite being the most expensive player in the game by a huge margin, Manchester City’s prolific poacher features in 85.6% of teams made at the time of writing.

This was to be expected, given that the Norwegian goal machine scored 431 points in 2022/23, the second-highest total in Dream Team history, to lead his team to a historic triple.

Haaland is clearly in a class of his own, therefore it’s worth noting that Arsenal’s No. 7 is next on the podium.

Saka is now in 36.6% of teams, trailing just Kevin De Bruyne (£7.5m) and Bruno Fernandes (£6.5m) in the midfield popularity stakes.

The England international’s lower price is a consideration, and it’s possible that managers are bypassing the Manchester pair in favor of Saka when choosing their premium midfielder – Haaland’s cost implies other compromises must be made.

Of all, Saka’s success stems primarily from his remarkable talent.

Last season, he had 15 goals and eleven assists, with all but one of those goals coming in the Premier League.

The Emirates’ resident ‘Star Boy’ was a big contribution to the Gunners’ unexpected title campaign last season, and with some high-profile additions through the door – Declan Rice (£3.5m), Kai Havertz (£3.5m), Jurrien Timber (£3.5m) – Mikel Arteta’s side are set to be strong again this season.

It’s easy to forget that Saka is still only 21 years old, and his heyday may still be a few years away – a terrifying possibility for the world’s left-backs.

While it is true that he set a high goal for himself in 2022/23, most analysts believe he will keep or even improve on that level.

Saka’s popularity is also influenced by Arsenal’s August fixtures.

They begin with a home game against Nottingham Forest, who had the worst away record in the Premier League last season, earning just eight points on the road.

Arsenal then go to Crystal Palace, who actually performed better away from Selhurst Park in 2022/23, before wrapping out the month with a trip to north London by Fulham.

At the start of the season, favorable matchups are more difficult to anticipate, but it’s a very friendly set on paper that appears ripe for some Saka returns.

What’s more, Martin Odegaard (£5m) is a full million less expensive, and the Norwegian playmaker was only five points behind his teammate last season, so he’s clearly a solid choice for August and beyond as well.

To be fair, Arsenal’s captain is presently the fourth-most popular commodity in his position, so Dream Team managers aren’t ignoring this alternative option – many gaffers may even be doubling up on Gunners midfielders.

At this point, it’s evident that some early-season Saka magic would make a sizable chunk of Dream Team coaches very pleased.

It’ll be intriguing to watch how his performances compare to those of the less well-known De Bruyne and Fernandes…

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