Noel Whelan is convinced that Arsenal has lost the battle to keep Eddie Nketiah at the Emirates beyond his current deal.
The striker will be out of a contract at the Emirates after this season and hasn’t been getting first-team minutes in league matches.
When he has played, mostly in the Carabao Cup, he has chipped in with goals.
Mikel Arteta wants him to remain at the Emirates even though first-team chances would be scarce, but former Leeds United man, Whelan believes the Englishman would rather leave than sign a new deal.
He told Football Insider: “When you’ve got a player in that position, he’s holding the cards. Right now, it doesn’t seem like it’s financial.
“He wants to play first-team football, start games and be an integral part of the starting XI week in, week out.
“I know you’ve got Lacazette coming out of contract as well, there might be an opening there for him. He needs more guarantees from Arsenal.
“He also needs to give Arsenal guarantees that he’s going to progress and be somebody that can be beneficial to them as a number nine.
“At the minute, I don’t think either party actually quite know what it is they want. I think he wants first-team football, 90 minutes week in, week out. To be part of the first-team setup and be their number nine.
“I think that’s what’s driving Eddie Nketiah on is he’s not guaranteed it. You never are at big clubs. Look at Arsenal, look at Chelsea, look at Manchester City.
“Sometimes you’ve got to play second fiddle and be a team player. If he doesn’t want to do that, then obviously that changes everything because he wants to be the focal point. The number nine star at a certain club.
“There’s still competition all the time. It’s a real difficult decision that he’s got to make. He’s come through the ranks at Arsenal. Does he maybe feel like he needs that change?”
Nketiah has struggled to score goals regularly under Arteta. It makes some fans wonder why he wants the striker to stay.
Maybe the club doesn’t want to lose such a young player on a free transfer.
Because if they were serious about keeping him, they would have offered him a new long-term deal long ago.
Nketiah could go to another club and become a star, but that doesn’t mean it would be a mistake to lose him.
He is simply not the right fit at the Emirates and he might spend the next few seasons at the club and still not produce as many goals as we want from any striker.