Mikel Arteta has named Eddie Nketiah as the player who could take Arsenal to the next level.
The forward spent the first-half of the season on-loan with Leeds in the Championship, but failed to break into the club’s first-team plans, with Patrick Bamford regularly chosen ahead of him.
Since returning to Arsenal in January however, the youngster has thoroughly impressed, and coach Arteta claims that he was sure after watching Nketiah train that he would be a big player.
“We treat Eddie as an important part of our squad,” the Gunners boss said in a press conference as quoted by the Mirror..
“We had to make an important decision not to let him go on loan again after the spell he had at Leeds.
“I watched him train and I was very convinced he was the right player for us to move us to the next level, that he can contribute in a big way to the way we want to play.
“He has been fantastic so far.”
It still amazes me that Leeds couldn’t find enough minutes for Nketiah, considering the obvious talent that he has shown already in his short time back at the club this term.
Unai Emery maybe should have looked to give Nketiah more minutes this season instead of sending him out on loan, but while we have options in the attacking roles, letting him join a club where he wasn’t guaranteed first-team football was surely pointless.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but it is nice to see that we have a manager that isn’t just willing, but is able to see the talent that he has available to him, and Nketiah has certainly shown he is more than up to the job.
Could Eddie be our long-term replacement for Aubameyang? Could he and Martinelli become interchangeable up front for Arsenal in the way that Rashford and Martial play for Man United?