Ian Wright claims that Eddie Nketiah has failed to take his chance to stake a claim for a regular Arsenal role, adding that he believes he now wants to leave.
The youngster has looked destined for the exit door for the last 12 months, with some believing he was set to be displace in the playing squad by Folarin Balogun, but the latter was sent out on loan in January after failing to make waves when given chances in the first-team.
Nketiah hasn’t convinced the manager that he is deserving of regular playing time spear-heading our attack this term either, although you could argue that his appearances in the cup competitions have been worthy of more of a chance than he has been given thus far.
Ian Wright believes he hasn’t shown enough however, claiming that he should have shown more hunger with the uncertainty surrounding the striker role this term.
“Eddie, I haven’t seen enough with him coming off the bench looking hungry enough to challenge two strikers – Auba, who wasn’t in form, and Laca, who wasn’t scoring at the rate he’s been scoring,” Nketiah stated on his Wrighty’s House podcast.
“Eddie has been out on loan, he’s bridged that gap (compared to Balogun), he knows what it’s like to be away and scoring goals and I don’t know where his head was at in respect of did he see the opening? Did he see that there was an opening at a club of Arsenal’s size to step in and be the guy?
“When I watch Eddie, whether he came off the bench or whether he started, it didn’t look like it. Now, it looks like he wants to leave and he probably will, but there was a chance there!”
I believe there could still be time for Nketiah here actually. We didn’t manage to sign a forward this month, meaning that Nketiah and Lacazette will likely share the CF role in the team for the remainder of the season, and there should be plenty of minutes for the English forward to stake his claim.
The issue however for Nketiah will likely be the understanding that the club will be investing heavily in a new striker come the summer regardless, meaning that unless he can score a bucket-load of goals that he will once again be demoted to back-up option regardless of how well he does in the next months.
He doesn’t seem to be happy just sitting on the bench picking up 10-20 minutes here or there, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try to take the opportunity to overthrow Lacazette and earn himself a bigger contract with whichever club he does play for next season.
Would it be much of a shock to see Nketiah forge ahead of Lacazette in the coming months, with both currently in the final months of their respective deals?