Wenger's tribute clearly meant a lot to Saka

Arsene Wenger’s Heartfelt Tribute to Bukayo Saka Tops 2024’s List of Heartwarming Moments

In Yoruba, the language of his Nigerian parents, ‘Bukayo’ means ‘adds to happiness’. Never has a name been more fitting for a human being.

Bukayo Saka might be the English game’s most universally loved baller. You love him, we love him, your partner who doesn’t even understand the offside rule loves him, the Arsenal fans would have him canonised as a saint tomorrow, and we reckon there’s probably even a few Spurs fans out there who think that, despite the fact he plays in red, he’s a very talented and nice young man.

From impressing as an auxiliary left-back when he first broke into the Gunners first team, to shining on the left wing before finally finding a home on the right, giving the game’s elite right-backs wobbly legs and stomach cramps, Bukayo has brought joy wherever he finds himself playing.

He brings joy off the pitch, too. The image of Arsenal’s star boy riding an inflatable unicorn in the pool at England’s European Championships training complex is the probably the purest thing we’ve ever seen. So when Giorgio Chiellini dragged Bukayo back by the collar of his shirt to deny him a crowning moment on the international stage, an entire nation sent hot verbal vitriol at their respective screens.

BeIn Sports recently presented Saka with an interview they’d done with Arsene Wenger, asking the great Frenchman his thoughts on the Gunners’ homegrown hero, and, god, it’s a lovely watch.

“As a person, I don’t know him well enough to assess his personality,” Wenger said.

“The only thing I can tell you is from the noises that get out from the club. He is an exceptional person, and his behaviour is impeccable. As a football player, he is top-class. I like the fact that he takes the responsibility in the big games.

“He doesn’t moan a lot and gets on with it, he gets kicked a lot. I would like him to be more standing up against things, although he’s not scared of anybody. He tries until the last minute. He’s disciplined, he’s a team player. I must say, for me, he’s exceptional. I hope we can keep him for a long time because he’s an exceptional football player.”

“Wow. It means a lot,” responded Saka.

“First of all, he’s Arsene Wenger so you listen anything he says, you listen straight away. He’s seen and worked with some amazing players over the years, so for him to say that about me is really nice. So, thank you, I appreciate it a lot.”

READ NEXT: 7 outstanding stats which prove that Bukayo Saka is undeniably world class

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player signed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal?