Widespread reports online have confirmed that Arsenal starlet Eddie Nketiah is expected to remain at the club for the second-half of the campaign, following his return from Leeds United.
Nketiah’s career to date
Nketiah, a 20-year-old striker, has been on Arsenal’s books since 2015, when he made the move across London from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
After spending two seasons in the club’s youth setup, Nketiah’s goalscoring exploits saw him first handed a chance to impress as part of the Gunners’ first-team panel in 2017.
The 8-time capped English U21-international, though, subsequently struggled to carve out any meaningful game-time.
Last season saw Nketiah manage 5 Premier League appearances as part of Unai Emery’s senior squad. All of these, however, came from the bench.
As such, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette firmly ahead of Nketiah in the centre-forward pecking order at the Emirates, the path to regular first-team minutes would likely have proven a difficult one to navigate for the 20-year-old once again this season.
As a result, back in August, it was confirmed that Nketiah had made the move to the Championship, with Leeds United, for the 2019/20 campaign:
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2019
And the former Chelsea man subsequently went on to enjoy an impressive start to life at Elland Road:
Eddie Nketiah this season:
-3 goals in pre-season.
-Joins Leeds on loan.
-Scores on his U23 debut.
-Scores on his Championship debut.
-Scores on his League Cup debut.
-Called up to the England U21 squad.
-Scores for the England U21s.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) September 6, 2019
The months that followed, though, did not exactly prove fruitful for Nketiah in terms of playing time.
While the Arsenal youngster did manage appearances in 17 of Leeds’ 26 Championship outings during his spell with the club, just two of these came in the form of starts.
As such, speculation inevitably began to mount late last month that Arsenal had grown tired of Nketiah’s lack of minutes on the pitch.
It therefore came as little surprise when the Gunners’ decision to recall their on-loan hitman was made official upon the opening of the winter transfer window two weeks ago:
What’s the latest on @EddieNketiah9? 🤔
Here’s what @m8arteta said earlier today…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 2, 2020
Nketiah to stay put
The widespread assumption, however, had since been that Arsenal would look to farm Nketiah back out on a 2nd consecutive loan to the Championship.
All of Bristol City, Nottingham Forest & Sheffield Wednesday were even rumoured to be battling it out for his signature.
As per the aforementioned updates emerging over the last 24 hours, however, surprisingly, this does not look set to be the case.
It is now claimed that Mikel Arteta has decided to keep hold of Nketiah for the second-half of the season.
This comes with the young attacker having thoroughly impressed the new Arsenal boss in training since his return:
As reported by @JPercyTelegraph and @SamJDean, Eddie Nketiah will stay at Arsenal for the second half of the season. Blow for Bristol City, Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, but Nketiah has impressed Arteta in training and will now stick around.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 15, 2020