Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah has signed a new long-term with the club and has also been handed the iconic number 14 as worn by legend Thierry Henry.
Nketiah came into form in the latter stages of 2021/22 scoring five goals in the final seven games of the season including a brace in his side’s 4-2 win away to Chelsea.
Skipper and first-choice striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s exit in January left Mikel Arteta with just two options in the position – Nketiah and the experienced Alexandre Lacazette.
Lacazette was handed the starting spot in the initial period following Aubameyang’s departure but failed to offer a reliable output in regard to goals.
This, partnered with a run of poor form which saw Arsenal lose three games on the spin, forced Arteta’s hand, who decided to throw caution to the wind and give the responsibility of leading the line to Nketiah.
The gamble paid dividends with the 23-year-old finally substantiating the anticipation generated during his rise through the ranks at his boyhood club.
Eddie ❤️ pic.twitter.com/sf1lOynTqT
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) June 18, 2022
Eddie Nketiah’s Arsenal journey
Eddie Nketiah, who is the England U21 record goal scorer with 16, joined the Gunners academy as a teenager after being released by London rivals Chelsea.
He enjoyed his first taste of first-team action under Arsene Wenger in the 2017/18 season, making his debut from the substitute’s bench against Belarusian outfit BATE Borisov.
As opportunities proved sparse, the next stage in his development was a loan to Leeds United where he in fact chose shirt number 14 to pay homage to his idol and former coach Henry.
At Elland Road, Nketiah struggled to displace talisman Patrick Bamford and was eventually recalled back to the Emirates Stadium ahead of the loan’s proposed end date.
Between then and now his Arsenal career has failed to catch alight but he showed glimpses of what he could offer going forward towards the end of the recently concluded campaign.
Mikel Arteta influences Nketiah U-turn
Prior to the upturn in his form, Nketiah was expected to leave North London as a free agent in search of a prominent role elsewhere in the Premier League.
The London-born striker was linked with a move to Crystal Palace among other clubs that registered interest ahead of his contract’s expiry this summer.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is thought to have had a significant bearing on the youngster’s change of heart concerning his future.
“I’m delighted Eddie is staying with us,” Arteta said in a statement via the club’s website. “He represents what we are all about and all the values of the club.
“We are very happy that he has extended his contract and now we have to get to work and continue to develop the great talent and person that we have in him.”
Via: Sky Sports
How does Eddie Nketiah contract impact Gabriel Jesus’ signing?
With Alexandre Lacazette completing a switch back to former club Lyon, Eddie Nketiah’s commitment won’t have an impact on Arsenal’s ongoing search for a striker.
They have been linked with Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus since it was announced he’d leave the title winners during last season.
Latest reports suggest City will demand a fee of £50m for the 25-year-old who has a solitary year remaining on his contract.
Higher-ups at Arsenal expected to pay in the region of £30m and are reported to be readying a new proposal to be submitted in the coming days as per Melissa Reddy of Sky Sports.