Eddie Nketiah was given a rare chance to impress last night as Mikel Arteta fielded a much-changed Arsenal side against Sunderland, and he duly came away with a true centre forwards hat-trick.
It seems to be an accepted fact that Eddie turned down the chance to leave in the summer, and fully intends to move on with a free transfer at the end of the season. After the game, of course Arteta was asked if he wanted Nketiah to sign an extension with the Gunners. “I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie.” Arteta told Arsenal.com. “We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session. I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded.”
Arteta then went on to explain what happened with Eddie in the summer and thinking he was set to leave. “The way we planned the squad and the way his situation looked in the window, he had a lot of options to go and we thought that was probably the best way to go. But the way we assembled the squad the situation changed and he decided to stay and it was hard to found minutes for him. But he’s finding the space right now and is using his minutes really well.”
And could Nketiah still be persuad to sign? “We are trying.” Arteta confirmed again. “It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants gametime, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, ‘Can I do it here?’ That’s the question. We all want him to stay.
“Yes [he will play more]. Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes.
“I don’t know if he’s different to other other strikers but I really like what he has. He has incredible work rate, he has pace and has the smell for goals. He has the capacity to finish in the box on any surface and then I really like his character. He wants to be the best and works all the time to do that. He’s a player that has come through our system and that’s why we want to keep him.”
Well with Aubameyang out of the picture for the moment, Eddie still has Lacazette and Martinelli to compete with for chances.
It remains to seen whether Eddie gets more chances or not….