We don’t need to talk about the promise that Eddie Nketiah showed in the Arsenal U18s and U23s, which caused the youngster to be promoted to the Arsenal first team a few years ago. But that promise of being the lethal striker than we needed has sadly not come to fruition, at least not at the highest level.
Yes Eddie is still knocking in goals in the Europa League and Cup games against lower quality opposition, and also for the England U21 side, but his tally in the Premier League stands at 3 goals in 27 appearances for the first team, albeit in only 10 starts and 17 sub appearances.
Many will point out that he needs to play more regularly to get up to speed, but as Arteta has now outlined, he is too far down the pecking order at the moment to get the game time. Arteta told Arsenal.com: “Well, when we’re talking about management, this is one of the hazards to leave someone like Eddie out of the squad, but at the moment everybody has been fit and we have so many options upfront. But it hurts as well because of how Eddie behaves and trains every day and because he’s a player from our academy, but he will have his chance. He needs to be patient and he’s showing no signs of lacking attitude or anything like that, it’s the complete opposite. He’s a joy to work with and he deserves minutes and if he doesn’t get it, it’s just my fault.”
There have been many Arsenal rumours lately that Nketiah could leave this summer in the aim of getting regular football elsewhere, and Arteta admitted that that the 21 year-old needs more minutes, and this needs talk to the player “openly” and decide how to proceed if his career is going to progress. “Yeah, there is because he needs to play and we’ve been wanting to use him a little bit more on some occasions and we didn’t. To be fair, when he’s played, he’s played well, but at his age and for what he’s done the last two or three seasons, he needs more minutes. It’s something we have to talk about openly and make the right decision.”
So, do you think that the “right decision” would be to sell him this summer, or perhaps extend his contract and let him go out on loan again to find his scoring boots again?
That didn’t quite go to plan at Leeds last season, did it?