Eddie Nketiah: Time to depart?
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal looks dejected as the Villareal CF team celebrate victory following the UEFA Europa League Semi-final Second Leg match between Arsenal and Villareal CF at Emirates Stadium on May 06, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

It's been a mixed bag for Eddie Nketiah this season, starting off the season as a starting striker either alongside teammates Pierre Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette.

Now he finds himself struggling for game time in a visionary Arsenal side that seems to have left him behind. Nketiah has only managed 140 minutes of football since the start of 2021and is rapidly starting to look out of touch with boss Mikel Arteta's plans. 

Arsenal stated during the January transfer window that they were opposed to selling the 21 year old following significant interest from West Ham United.

The tables seem to have turned however as Folarin Balogun has signed a long term contract with the club until 2026. 

With Hammers boss David Moyes still keen on persuading Nketiah to join the east-London outfit, and multiple Championship and Premier League teams in need of a solid striking option this summer, Nketiah could likely leave the club in the coming months. 

Nketiah only has one year left on his contract and with only one more goal contribution this season than Joe Willock and Kieran Tierney, it seems inevitable that Arteta will look to move him on. 

  • What went wrong? 

Eddie Nketiah has been involved with the Gunners' first team squad for three years now, out-staying two managers at the Emirates since his promotion from the u23's. 

Although he hasn't been one of the most exciting young prospects this season with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe single handedly saving their boss from embarrassment, Nketiah has shown signs of improvement in this campaign. 

He has scored six in all competitions in 2020/21, his highest tally as a professional footballer. With seven goal contributions this year as well this shows that the Hale End graduate has made chances for himself utilising clever positioning and vision to finish off attacking opportunities. 

However, with the rebirth of Lacazette into the side in a central striking role, who himself has 17 goals in all competitions and only doubling Nketiah's appearances, it looks like the youngster is third in the queue behind the Frenchman and Aubameyang.

Arteta seems set on playing a single striker up top in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Next season, number three in the queue could turn to number four, as hot topic and Gunners' youngster Balogun is sure to get first team opportunities next year after signing a long term contract with the club.

Surely Nketiah will look to leave if he wants to play first team football in the coming season. 

  • Where next for Eddie?

As previously mentioned, West Ham will continue their interest in the young striker, especially now that they are unlikely to get a UEFA Champions League style budget due to a slip in recent results.

Due to Nketiah's contract being up in only a year, the Hammers could sign him for a cut price. 

Any of either Norwich, Watford or the final promoted team from the Championship could look to sign Nketiah on the cheap as they set to bolster their squads in order to secure Premier League survival next year. 

Leeds United could also resign the 21 year old after his Championship winning loan spell with the club in the previous year. This is following Newcastle's reported interest in the Whites' Welsh striker Tyler Roberts Nketiah could replace him at Elland Road and is already loved by the fans.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has coached the Arsenal striker before and could get him playing the "Murder Ball" ideology with ease.