A discussion in the pub over the New years period was about Bukayo Saka.
The question was asked: “Is Bukayo Saka the best right winger in the world right now?”
He is clearly the first choice for Arsenal and England. So immediately you can discount any English right winger. We then began to work through the rest of the Premier League.
Saka would walk into Manchester City’s team (Riyad Mahrez). He would also be first choice at Man U (Antony), Spurs (Kuluveski) and Chelsea (Zieych?).
Liverpool are the only English side where he would not be a guaranteed starter. However, if Salah left tomorrow, Saka would probably be their number one target to replace him.
Considering Salah looks to be on the decline, I would imagine Saka would be a more attractive proposition to most players if both were available to sign.
We then looked beyond the Premier League, starting with France.￼
The only relevant team in Ligue 1 is PSG.
Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi are probably the best front 3 in the world. But none play wide right for club or contry.
PSG play a narrow front 2, with one in behind.
It is usually Mbappe and Neymar through the middle and Messi in the 10. Although Neymar does have a tendancy to drop deeper to make it 2 behind Mbappe.
For country, Messi plays behind Julian Alvarez, Neymar plays left wing for Brazil, as does Mbappe for France.
I would imagine if PSG signed Saka, they would go to:
Saka Messi Mbappe
With Neymar and Mbappe interchanging their position.
Then our journey took us to Spain.
We excluded Vinicius Jr at Real Madrid. He plays left wing for club and country On their right is Rodrygo.
Rodrygo is a talented young player, and will certainly be fighting it out with Saka in the future to claim the best right winger in world football. But for now, Rodrygo is that level below.
After years of injuries, Ousmane Dembele is finally fulfilling his potential.
Now 25, he is first choice on the right wing for club and country. A fantastic two footed player who is certainly a contender with Saka.
Now there are 2 sides to the Dembele v Saka argument.
I think at their best, Dembele is the better player. He has that little bit more than Saka. But Saka is a more consistent player and Dembele has not started more than 20 league games since 2018/19.
If Dembele stays fit and continues his current form, then their will be very few that will argue against him being one of the best in the world. but likewise if Saka continues the form he is currently in, then anyone still doubting his talent will be silenced.
I would have Dembele and Saka a score draw.
As for Germany and Italy, we did not really bother going into them.
Saka would start for both of their international sides, as he would for Argentina, Holland, Portugal, Croatia and Morocco. He would also start for Brazil.
It is only France who he would not be guaranteed a starting place for.
So in summary, is Saka the best right winger in the world? Well I would still have Salah above him, but Saka is closing that gap every game.
The best 3 right wingers in the world: