On Wednesday, as most outlets focussed on Bukayo Saka saying he was confident he would agree a new deal with Arsenal, the Telegraph ran an interesting piece showing how the Arsenal youngster is treading a very dangerous burnout line.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
NORWICH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

No player in the Premier League under the age of 21 has come close to the number of minutes Bukayo Saka has played.

Mason Greenwood, second on the list, has played 4,367 Premier League minutes but Saka has played 75% more than that, coming in at an incredible 7,656 before he played another 88 minutes against Aston Villa during the week.

That equates to an additional 86 matches.

Most Premier League minutes by players currently aged under 21 (all clubs)
Most Premier League minutes by players currently aged under 21 (all clubs) via Telegraph

When you discard age and just look at the Arsenal first team squad, only Granit Xhaka rivals Saka for Premier League minutes played with just 32 minutes between the pair.

Saka, of course, is the one who has played the extra minutes.

The other three players in the top five list are no longer at the club but they were some distance back on Saka and Xhaka (and yes, Laca is one of the other ones).

Most Premier League minutes by current Arsenal players since start of 2019/20 season

  • Bukayo Saka 7,744 minutes
  • Granit Xhaka 7,712 minutes
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 6,243 minutes
  • Bernd Leno 5,872 minutes
  • Alexandre Lacazette 5,514

In addition, only Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris (91) and Everton’s Dwight McNeil (66) have played in more consecutive Premier League games than Saka who has featured in Arsenal’s last 47 and will, no doubt, start against Manchester United on Sunday.

Currently, Saka sits in joint 8th in most Premier League appearances before turning 21.

  1. Wayne Rooney 138
  2. Cesc Fabregas 138
  3. James Milner 122
  4. Chris Bart-Williams 109
  5. Raheem Sterling 109
  6. Michael Owen 106
  7. Robbie Fowler 104
  8. Gareth Barry 102
  9. Bukayo Saka 102
  10. Joe Cole 102
  11. Micha Richards 100

Given that Saka is guaranteed to play against Manchester United on Sunday, unless he picks up an injury, he will move up to 8th on his own.

Saka turns 21 on Monday, the day after the United game.

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