The latest reports stemming from the English media this afternoon suggest that Arsenal do not intend to recall Eddie Nketiah 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 staying put?
Nketiah has since gone on to find the net a none-too-shabby 5 times, as well as notching an assist, in 14 competitive appearances in Leeds’ colours.
However, to this point, the Arsenal youngster is actually yet to earn a single start in the Championship.
All 12 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.
Nevertheless, though, the youngster’s lack of game-time had resulted in mounting speculation of late that Arsenal were ready to cut Nketiah’s spell at Elland Road short in January:
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
As per an update courtesy of the Sun this afternoon, though, this will in fact not prove the case.
The board at the Emirates are said to be happy for Nketiah to continue his development at Elland Road for the remainder of the season.
This comes despite rumoured interest from Bristol City in the striker’s signature, and Nketiah himself reportedly being unhappy with his game-time.
Alan Nixon adds:
‘The Nketiah camp will sort out terms on bonuses and perks to make sure he gets the most out of his stint with Marcelo Bielsa’s outfit.’