Eddie Nketiah: Stay or go?
Everton v Arsenal - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal greets Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal as Eddie Nketiah is substituted off and Alexandre Lacazette is substituted on during the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 19, 2020 in Liverpool, England. A limited number of fans (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Jon Super - Pool/Getty Images)

It is perhaps one of the toughest times to highlight just how poorly or just how well a striker is doing for Arsenal at the moment.

Alexandre Lacazette is in good form at present, with 5 goals in his last four games following the teams upturn in form, although prior to that, he had only managed three in the Premier League.

Captain and once talisman Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang did not score in open play from September to December and only scored a solitary penalty in between.

Then we have Eddie Nketiah, his only goal of the season in the League came against West Ham in September. We do not need reminding of the poor football Arsenal produced for the majority of the season thus far and the real lack of creativity and chances created has been clearly highlighted.

Therefore, are we being too harsh on the strikers, especially Eddie Nketiah?

Reasons for Optimism

There was a time where Nketiah was the top scorer in the campaign and warranted a start under Mikel Arteta.

Three goals in six games in the Europa League may not set the world alight, but it was something that Arsenal were not seeing… that being goals.

Not just this season too, last season when he was battling Lacazette for the starting spot, he showed promise and potential. Goals against Portsmouth and Bournemouth respectively in the FA Cup, as well as goals against Everton and Southampton in the league highlights someone that takes their chance when given the opportunity.

Even when he was not scoring, his overall work rate and attitude impressed the fans. Arteta even saw the potential himself by calling him back from his loan spell at Leeds early on. 

Stats can flatter to deceive that is for sure, but a striker that has scored 28 goals in 38 games for the Under 23’s, followed by 27 goals in 37 games in Premier League 2 as well being the all time leading goalscorer for England under 21’s, not to mention being the captain too would surely  be enough to fight for a place at Arsenal.

It is worth remembering that since last season, Nketiah has only started 10 games, is that really enough?


Cause for Concern

Football is changing, and now we see clubs preferring to tie down their players who are entering the final two years of their respective contracts or look to seek alternatives.

Nketiah is one of those players. Out of contract next summer, Arsenal will be carefully looking at this situation in the next few months before ultimately making a decision.

If Arsenal were to cash in, how much would they be looking for £15-20 million? We have seen Rhian Brewster go to Sheffield United for £23.5 million from Liverpool without kicking a ball in the Premier League.

It is without doubt that the Gunners should use that to their advantage if they decide to sell. Furthemore, with the latest reports on Arsenal considering offloading Joe Willock or Riess Nelson in order to potentially land Emi Buendia from Norwich this January, would the Gunners consider selling Nketiah too, it seems they probably would. 

Finally, all Arsenal fans have loved seeing the youthful exuberance in recent games against Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom which has been pleasant on the eye to say the least against , however, the 21 year old Striker has not been involved.

Instead, we have seen the ever growing impressive Bukayo Saka lead by example, Emile Smith - Rowe make Premier League life look easy and the return of Gabriel Martinelli has provided a different energy around the whole squad.

When you then add Lacazette and Aubameyang to the fray, it looks difficult for Nketiah to find a place in the team. That being said, Newcastle on Saturday in the FA Cup could be an opportunity for some minutes as the Gunners look to retain the trophy. 

There is no doubt that there is a player in Nketiah, that's one thing, whether the Arsenal fans are ready to wait for the striker to maximise potential is another.

If Arsenal were to sell in this window, it would make sense to loan him to a club that will give him regular football. Did somebody mention Leeds again? We shall wait and see.

After all, the striker did recently explain how is time at Leeds was something "out of his comfort zone" in an interview with talkSPORT. Maybe, just maybe, another promising youngster finds himself too comfortable in North London.

VAVEL Logo