Mikel Arteta has confirmed an early departure is unlikely for youngster Eddie Nketiah as he plans to keep him until the end of the season. With Aubameyang facing time on the sidelines due to cardiac lesions and Folarin Balogun moving to Middlesbrough on loan, keeping hold of Nketiah is now of paramount importance, at least for the rest of the season.
The 22-year-old is in the final six months of his contract with Arsenal. The forward refused to sign a new contract with the North London club last month and expressed his desire to leave the Emirates in search of more first-team minutes.
Nketiah joined the senior team in the 2017-18 season after graduating from the academy. In August 2019, he was sent on a season-long to Leeds United, but his time at Elland Road was cut short when Arsenal recalled him on the first day of 2020.
But since his return to Emirates, he has managed to make 54 appearances for the club in two seasons, netting 15 times. However, the number of games played is certainly misleading as most of his appearances have been as a substitute.
Crystal Palace coach Patrick Vieira wanted to bring him to Selhurst Park last summer but a move failed to materialise as both clubs couldn’t agree on a transfer fee. The Eagles tried to sign the forward once again in January but gave up pursuit after Arteta’s recent statement.
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira asked whether he’s ended interest in Eddie Nketiah:
“He is an Arsenal player and his manager makes it clear he will stay at Arsenal. I have nothing to comment." pic.twitter.com/uyXOkYG0BB
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 13, 2022
Although Arteta has put a halt to a January move, he has failed to convince Eddie Nketiah to sign an extension. The manager confirmed in a press conference that Arsenal will not be cashing in on Eddie Nketiah in the January transfer window. Arteta said:
“The situation is that Eddie is our player and Eddie is going to stay here with us,”
“He’s our player and he’s under contract, so he will stay with us.”
The English forward’s five starts this season have been limited to the cup competitions only, 4 in the Carabao Cup and 1 FA Cup appearance. He has scored five goals in the EFL Cup while Arsenal got eliminated from the FA Cup after a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.
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Even though Eddie Nketiah has not made a single start in the Premier League this season, Arteta has insisted on keeping him. The club is short on options in the attack. Aubameyang doesn’t look any closer to a return to the first team after being stripped of the captaincy while Lacazette is also expected to leave in the summer.
Arsenal are pushing hard to sign Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic in January, with reports suggesting a fresh £50million bid have been placed to sign their target man, which also includes Lucas Torreira as a part of the potential deal. The Gunners are in desperate need of a striker to secure a Champions League spot this season. They currently sit fifth on the Premier League table, two points behind West Ham.
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