Mikel Arteta has spoken on Bukayo Saka after his decisive penalty miss in England’s shoot-out loss to Italy in the final of Euro 2020, saying that the winger will “be fine” and is a “strong character”.
Saka took the fifth English penalty in the shoot-out, unfortunately having his shot saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma as Italy went on to lift the trophy.
The 19-year-old had a stellar tournament for the Three Lions, but has been the target of online racist abuse after his miss.
Speaking to Sky Sports after Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to Hibernian in a pre-season friendly, Arteta was asked if he has spoken to the teenager since England’s loss.
“Yes I have (spoken to him), we all have I think spoken to him and sent messages.
“He will be fine, he’s such a strong character.
“He has received a lot of love and support from the world of football, not only at Arsenal but with the national team, and all the English fans because he doesn’t deserve anything like he’s been through.
“He’s had a phenomenal season and in football if you want to be the greatest you have to know today at 19 you will lose more than you win unfortunately in this game, and there is no exception to that rule.”
The Spaniard also discussed the racist abuse that Saka has received:
“Hopefully we can make a strong statement and we have to stop that racist abuse on social media and people using social media to hide and put people in really bad places.
“Hopefully the laws will become stronger.”
The Gunners’ only summer signing so far is Nuno Tavares from Benfica for £8million.
When asked if more transfers are imminent, Arteta said: “We have got one for now and we are really happy with the one we have.
“Unfortunately he (Tavares) could not play today. Hopefully, he will play on Saturday.
“We will work with the players that we have, try to make them better, and try to compete as best we can.”
Tavares will act as backup for first-choice defender Kieran Tierney. The Scotsman was one of Arteta’s best players last season but missed 11 Premier League games due to injury.
Sead Kolasinac is another left-back available to Arsenal. He spent the 2020/21 season back at Schalke on loan, although he has now returned to England for pre-season and featured in the loss against Hibs.