Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has clarified his decision to sign a new contract with the Gunners last year, even as speculation about the club seeking a new striker grows.
Despite being an academy graduate, Nketiah is not currently the first-choice striker, with Gabriel Jesus, a four-time Premier League champion, occupying that role.
However, Nketiah has received more playing time than expected, particularly this season, due to injuries to Jesus and tactical adjustments by manager Mikel Arteta.
Nketiah initially made a promising start, finding the back of the net quickly. However, his goal-scoring form has since slowed down, with just two goals this season despite featuring in all of Arsenal’s league games, one more than Jesus, who has had limited game time due to injuries.
As a result, some sections of Arsenal’s fan base have started to question whether Arteta should dip into the transfer market to acquire a new striker.
If such a move were to happen in January, it might raise uncertainties about Nketiah’s future with the club. Nevertheless, for now, the 24-year-old appears content with his role at Arsenal.
Explaining the reasons behind his decision to extend his stay at Arsenal last summer, Nketiah told FourFourTwo:
“It was just my love for the club. London’s home, the club is home, but I’ve been an Arsenal fan all my life and that played a big part.”
Furthermore, Nketiah continued by emphasizing that his discussions with Mikel Arteta played a significant role in his choice to stay with Arsenal. He stated:
“Talking to the manager and the plans he had for me, and the fact he needed me… I knew I wanted to learn, develop and help this club.”
Nketiah signed his new contract with full knowledge that he would have to compete with Gabriel Jesus for the position of Arsenal’s first-choice striker.
However, if the rumors surrounding Brentford’s Ivan Toney prove to be accurate, there could be another forward joining Arsenal, potentially pushing Nketiah further down the pecking order.
Toney is currently serving an eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s betting rules, but he is set to become eligible for a return in January, conveniently timed for a possible move to Arsenal during the winter transfer window.
Toney has also recently joined super-agent Jonathan Barnett’s CAA Stellar agency and openly expressed his interest in leaving Brentford during an appearance on The Diary Of A CEO podcast in August.
“Everyone wants to play at the top of the tree,” Toney admitted. “The manager knows that I want to play at the highest level possible and whenever that time comes, so be it. My time at Brentford has been probably the best of my career. The next club I go to will be the right club.”