In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, John Hartson has suggested that Arsenal are too blessed with attacking options for Eddie Nketiah to realistically challenge for a first-team place at the Emirates Stadium.
The 20-year-old is currently out on loan at Championship side Leeds United. He has scored four goals in his first nine games for the club, whilst he also netted a hattrick for England’s U21s on Tuesday.
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However, despite his positive form, the 44-year-old former Wales international has suggested that there is too much competition for him to feature regularly for Unai Emery’s side.
“Obviously the boy wants to play every week. He’s banging the goals in for England’s U21s so you can’t blame him. I think strikers always want to play.
“But if you look at Arsenal at the minute, they seem spoilt for strikers. They have Alexandre Lacazette, they have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they have the boy Gabriel Martinelli, who looks like he could be a really good player.”
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Whilst the Gunners have struggled defensively so far this term – they have conceded 11 goals in their first eight Premier League games – there are no such issues up front. Aubameyang, of course, is one of hottest marksmen around, and was recently voted the top tier’s Player of the Month for September.
Although Lacazette has been injured recently, he looked good at the start of the campaign, scoring two goals in his first three matches. Brazilian Martinelli has been on top form as well, scoring four goals in two starts in the cup competitions.
At the moment, there would be little chance of Nketiah breaking into that side, especially considering he is still struggling for a starting spot at Leeds despite being prolific in front of goal. Whether that changes in the future remains to be seen, but currently there’s little evidence to suggest any of Arsenal’s main attacking options are going anywhere in the near future.
It may be the case that Nketiah has to establish himself away from the club before getting a genuine chance back in north London.