Eddie Nketiah is headed to Leeds United on a season-long loan. The young Arsenal striker was a sought-after commodity with clubs both in England and abroad pursuing his services. He reportedly selected Leeds after the club sold him on manager Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics and vision for his role in the side.
Nketiah had a strong pre-season, notching three goals in the International Champions Cup. After the match in Charlotte against Fiorentina, he talked about the importance of playing time. From the Charlotte Post:
“It’s good, you know, preseason’s always nice for that and to give the younger boys a chance. I feel like a lot of us have had a lot of chances and a lot of game time,” said Nketiah. “It’s nice to obviously get chances and show what you can do because at the end of the day you want to be playing every week in the starting 11, so I feel like these kinds of games can help you make a case for yourself.”
Let’s face it, short of magically transforming into Thierry Henry, no level of preseason performance from Nketiah was going to get him those all-important minutes at Arsenal this season. The Gunners’ attack is congested with two world-class strikers in Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang well ahead of him on the depth chart.
That said, Aubameyang is 30 and Lacazette is 28. There is going to be playing time to be had leading the Arsenal attack in a few years. Going out on loan now will help Nketiah develop and be primed to...strike when the moment comes.