Reports in the English media this afternoon suggest that Arsenal are ready to call Eddie Nketiah back early from his loan spell with Leeds United.
Nketiah’s career to date
Nketiah, a 20-year-old striker, has been on Arsenal’s books since 2015, when he made the move across London from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
After spending two seasons in the club’s youth setup, Nketiah’s goalscoring exploits saw him first handed a chance to impress as part of the Gunners’ first-team panel in 2017.
The 8-time capped English U21-international, though, subsequently struggled to carve out any meaningful game-time.
Last season saw Nketiah manage 5 Premier League appearances as part of Unai Emery’s senior squad. All of these, though, came from the bench.
As such, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette firmly ahead of Nketiah in the centre-forward pecking order at the Emirates, the path to regular first-team minutes would likely have proven a difficult one to navigate for the 20-year-old once again this season.
As a result, it came as little surprise when, back in August, it was confirmed that Nketiah had made the move to the Championship, with Leeds United, for the 2019/20 campaign:
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2019
And the former Chelsea man subsequently went on to enjoy an impressive start to life at Elland Road:
Eddie Nketiah this season:
-3 goals in pre-season.
-Joins Leeds on loan.
-Scores on his U23 debut.
-Scores on his Championship debut.
-Scores on his League Cup debut.
-Called up to the England U21 squad.
-Scores for the England U21s.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) September 6, 2019
Nketiah on the move again?
Nketiah has since gone on to find the net a none-too-shabby 5 times in 12 competitive appearances in Leeds’ colours.
However, to this point, the Arsenal youngster is actually yet to earn a single start in the Championship.
All 10 of his league appearances under Marcelo Bielsa have come as a substitute.
This comes due to a combination of Patrick Bamford’s fine form, and injury problems for Nketiah.
And, as per a report from Football Insider, their on-loan hitman’s lack of game-time looks set to result in Arsenal pulling the plug on Nketiah’s Leeds stint.
The Gunners hold an option to call the starlet back to the club in January, if he has not racked up a previously-agreed number of minutes by the turn of the year.
‘A Leeds source has told Football Insider the club have now started actively looking at strikers to replace the 20-year-old in the January window.’
The assumption is that Nketiah would subsequently be farmed out on loan to another club upon his return to the Emirates.
Similar reports, meanwhile, have since begun to crop up elsewhere in the English media:
LEEDS. Arsenal are planning to recall Eddie Nketiah in the January window. Plans could change between now and then but at this moment they will be recalling him when the window opens and sending him out loan again. #Lufc #Afc #LeedsUnited
— David Smith (@DavidSJourno) November 26, 2019