The staggering £200m transfer temptation that Arsenal must resist

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The Gunners could reportedly demand a world record fee for a star player

Arguing about transfer valuations in football is a little like debating which superheroes would win in a fight to the death. Is Ivan Toney truly worth £80 million? Would the Incredible Hulk curb stomp Superman into a bloody pulp? In the end, there is no quantifiable way of measuring such things, and subsequently, it is all just subjectivity and hypothetical bluster.

All we know for sure is that a selling club can name their price, and a buying peer can either choose to pay it or walk away. The rest is fantastical discourse. But, for the sake of argument, let us imagine for a moment that the fees we see peddled in speculative headlines are to be taken as absolute gospel.

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According to a report from Football Insider, Arsenal could demand as much as £200 million before they were to even consider the sale of talismanic winger Bukayo Saka. In the Gunners' estimation, that would make him the second-most valuable player in the whole of the Premier League, eclipsed only by Manchester City's inevitable goal machine Erling Haaland.

There will be those who believe that to be a fair assessment. Others will point to the likes of Mo Salah or Kevin de Bruyne and protest otherwise. At the very least, however, one has to acknowledge that given both his undeniable quality and his tender age, Saka is indeed worth a very pretty penny.

So far this season, the Hale End academy graduate has registered 13 goals and 13 assists in 31 appearances across all competitions, and in the absence of a consistent threat at the point of attack, his presence in this Arsenal side is nothing short of vital. Similarly, if England are to enjoy any kind of triumph at this summer's upcoming European Championships in Germany, you suspect that the 22-year-old will have a large part to play in their success.

Sources claim that Mikel Arteta is convinced Saka could 'walk into any team in the world', and without devoting too much meticulousness to the mulling process, it is hard to properly disagree with him. Certainly, in transfer windows of the recent past, hazy links with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool have made a great deal of sense in relation to the respective ambitions of those clubs.

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Since then, of course, Saka has penned a fresh four-year deal at the Emirates that has gone a long way towards quelling any talk of an exit, but the fact that Arsenal are even so much as calculating a prospective asking price would suggest that the possibility of a shock sale is not to be ruled out entirely. In truth, however, it really should be.

Because even if, by some minor miracle, one of the grand heavyweights of European football did table a world record bid for the winger, the Gunners must retain his services for as long as they possibly can. Talents of Saka's ilk - young, brimming with creativity, world class (despite Rio Ferdinand's assertions otherwise) - are remarkably rare. And it is rarer still that they just happen to waltz out of your academy system unannounced one day.

Arsenal evidently believe that their fondly-christened 'Star Boy' is a superlative name in the global game, and if that is the case - and if their aspiration to establish themselves as the dominant side in English football once more is genuine - then they cannot allow him to leave, regardless of price. I mean, how could they?

And then, of course, there are the factors that no amount of money can sway. Already Saka has totted up 210 appearances for his boyhood club; were he to, hypothetically, stay in north London for the entirety of his career, he could very well go on to challenge the record 722 outings that David O'Leary made. Sprinkle in a few trophies here and there and it is in no way hyperbolic to suggest that he might be remembered as one of the Gunners' greatest ever representatives. On the evidence of his body of work at present, he might be anyways.

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Saka is adored, worshipped, venerated at the Emirates, and with good reason. On the pitch, he is the beating heartbeat of so much of the promising work that Arteta has coaxed out of this side in recent seasons, and away from it, he is a shining paragon of everything the club should stand for; a decent, grounded, ambitious local lad done good. Even with £200 million burning a hole in Edu's back pocket, he would be utterly irreplaceable.

Of course, all of this is very probably idle conjecture. There is a strong chance that Arsenal would not sell at any price, or that those sides who are vaguely interested in Saka will be spooked by the monstrous nature of this latest update. But in the unlikely event that an offer of £200 million is indeed spewed forth, the message is a simple and resolute one; the Gunners must not be tempted.

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