Emery must keep Nketiah at Arsenal after Welbeck’s release

According to Football.London, Arsenal are contemplating allowing young striker Eddie Nketiah to leave the club on loan next season with interest from the Championship and abroad.

What’s the word?

The report claims Unai Emery’s side are considering whether a season of regular first-team football away from the Emirates could be vital for Nketiah’s development.

A loan move to Augsburg back in January was blocked over concerns from the Gunners boss that the club would be left light on attacking options if there were an injury to either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Danny Welbeck’s release at the end of the month has opened a spot up for Nketiah to potentially fill but it remains to be seen whether the north London side might look to replace him with a new signing and thus allow the 20-year-old to leave on a temporary basis.

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A driving force off the bench

Perhaps the biggest talking point over Arsenal’s backroom shuffle in recent weeks with former U23s boss Freddie Ljungberg stepping up to be a first-team coach is the Gunners’ public commitment to embracing their youth academy.

The striker showed flashes of real potential in the minimal game time he was given by Emery last season, showing great pace and movement. When he came on as a substitute in the final Premier League game of the season against Burnley, Nketiah posed a real problem for the opposition defence with his running in behind and capped off a fine cameo with a well-taken goal – the kind of electric pace and directness the Gunners will miss when Welbeck leaves at the end of the month.

The strike was a small glimpse into Nketiah’s prolific nature which saw him score nine times in ten Premier League 2 games last year. Indeed, he has a fine knack of collecting the ball from out wide and driving into the box as shown by his impressive 1.6 dribbles per game; more than Lacazette and double that of Aubameyang.

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Trying to buy a replacement for Welbeck with the reported £40m budget the Gunners have got will be one difficult task. In Nketiah, they already have the man to take the game to the opposition if their two £50m+ strikers can’t get the job done.

Arsene Wenger himself described the young starlet as having “exceptional qualities” and said that he was “top quality” back in 2017; now he must get the chance to show it.

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