Eddie Nketiah has an uncertain future at Arsenal after struggling for playing time under Mikel Arteta and he appears to have lost his patience waiting for an opportunity that isn’t coming. The Athletic say Nketiah ‘rejected’ a contract extension on Tuesday and has told Arsenal that he ‘wishes to leave’ due to the lack of first-team football.
The 22-year-old has yet to make a Premier League appearance this season and has amassed only 173 minutes of playing time across the board, so it’s clear he’s on the periphery. Nketiah finds himself behind Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli in the pecking order, so the writing is on the wall.
Arteta wants to keep Nketiah beyond 2022, but the England U21 international isn’t going to stay if he’s not being used. Nketiah has made 67 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 15 goals with one assist, but he’s managed only two this campaign. The Athletic say a lot of clubs in Germany, France and Italy could provide an escape route – Borussia Monchengladbach and OGC Nice were cited – so Nketiah won’t be short of interest if he’s a free agent in the coming months.
Arsenal look resigned to losing an academy talent that once showed so much promise and his expected departure may come back to bite them. Nketiah is on the radar of a number of top-flight clubs in Europe and is young enough to realise his potential with consistent playing time.
His 15 goals for Arsenal have come in 28 starts, so Nketiah is a proven scorer when given the minutes. The 22-year-old’s Premier League omission under Arteta is all the more strange given Lacazette (1), Aubameyang (4) and Martinelli (1) have only six goals between them in the top-flight this season.
Nketiah deserves to be at a club that value his ability, not view him as a last resort.