Eddie Nketiah is out of contract at the end of this season. He has reportedly turned down at least one new deal from Arsenal and looks set to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer. He can start negotiating with non-English clubs in January and could sign a pre-contract with one, although the smart money is on him staying in England.
Mikel Arteta would like to keep him in North London. Said the Arsenal manager:
Eddie knows how much I rate him and I would like him to stay at the club. He has the Arsenal DNA in his blood, and he loves the club so much. His reason is that he wants to play more football, and that’s a genuine reason, it’s nothing to do with anything else. He wants more minutes, and he feels he is able to contribute much more, and that’s why I like him.
I have questions, including but not limited to the following. And I’d also like to point out that Mikel’s “he wants to play more football, and that’s a genuine reason, it’s nothing to do with anything else” shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by the shirt.
- How much does he actually want Eddie Nketiah to stay at Arsenal?
- Does it really matter with all the writing on the wall that Nketiah wants out?
- What’s up with all these young strikers hesitant to sign new contracts out of concerns for playing time?
To #1, I don’t think Mikel Arteta really cares all that much either way. Eddie Nketiah is a fine player. He’ll probably have a 10-goal season in the Premier League at some point in his career. I don’t think he’s going to be a star, however. And I don’t think Arsenal would be losing all that much that cannot be replaced should he leave the club.
To #2, I don’t think Nketiah is going to stay at the club, even with Mikel supposedly wanting him to stay. Arsenal just extended Folarin Balogun who is younger and shinier (if you will), and it’s clear that they are going to splash the cash on a new striker in an upcoming window with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starting to slow down.
To #3, there was a point where the future depth chart at striker was murky, before Balogun re-upped. Since then, the picture has gotten clear (in my estimation). Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will either be sold or leave on free transfer when his contract is up after next season. Alexandre Lacazette will leave this summer. Folarin Balogun is the prized prospect. And the club will bring in a striker in his early 20’s as heir apparent to Aubameyang while they figure out what they’ve got with Balogun.
That doesn’t leave much room for Eddie Nketiah, which is why I firmly believe he’s leaving the club.