Why Arsenal superstar Bukayo Saka is world-class

• Bukayo Saka is easily among the world's best

• Rio Ferdinand's metric for success is broken

• Saka will lead Arsenal to more silverware

Burnley FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Burnley FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Harriet Lander/Copa/GettyImages

While some have doubted his quality, Bukayo Saka has been doing his talking on the pitch and has sent a message to the world.

At the start of the week, Premier League legend Rio Ferdinand reacted to Arsenal's 6-0 win away to West Ham by audaciously questioning the ability and footballing CV of Saka, with the former Man United defender claiming that the 22-year-old is not world-class.

On Saturday, the microphone was handed to Saka, who had a chance to respond and did so in emphatic fashion, scoring twice as Arsenal beat Burnley 5-0 away from home - taking his recent tally to a staggering six goals and one assist in just his last five games.

With this run of form, the England international has taken his season tally to 15 goals and 13 assists across 32 games in all competitions.

To put this into context, Vinicius Junior, Phil Foden and Rafael Leao have all achieved far fewer goal involvements, with Foden the only one anywhere near Saka's output, despite the trio being largely touted as three of the best wingers in the world.

In fairness to Ferdinand, he is not the only person to have admitted an inability to spot pure talent, with TalkSport's Andy Goldstein and, surprisingly, Darren Bent, also claiming that the highest Premier League goalscorer of 2024 is not world-class.

What is the metric for success?

Ferdinand had suggested that the reason behind Saka not being world-class, in his... humble... opinion, is that: "He hasn’t done it in the Champions League, has he? I’m talking in the nitty-gritty stages."

Harry Kane
VfL Bochum 1848 v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga / Lars Baron/GettyImages

If we take a moment to apply this logic elsewhere, Harry Kane has never scored beyond the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League so, are we to label him as not being world-class? Of course not.

The entire argument is absurd and, in my opinion, just distracts from the sheer excellence that Saka, as well as those like Foden, are displaying on the pitch, which should be admired.

I completely understand the tribalism of football, and it is part of why we all love the sport so much, but if you cannot rightly call a player of Saka's quality world-class, despite the fact that he would walk into almost every team in the world, then clearly your passion for the sport stops beyond your own team's stadium.

A force to be reckoned with

Frankly, neither Saka nor Arsenal will care what ex-players, pundits or even fans have to say, about the star or what labels they may or may not attribute to him.

His recent form, including his double against Burnley, does more talking than anybody could ever do on his behalf, and the fact remains that he is one of the best wingers, if not players, in world football.

If Arsenal were to win either the Champions League or Premier League this season, it would be in large part due to his contribution, and I can safely speak for every single Arsenal fan when I say that there is not a player on Earth who we would swap Saka for.

From Hale End to the Champions League, from the academy to silverware, the only reason to deny Saka's place among the world's best is jealousy, which as Arsenal fans we should all take as an enormous compliment.