Eddie Nketiah is one of the bright stars to have emerged from Arsenal’s Hale End academy in recent years.
The 20-year-old has had fleeting appearances in the first team under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, but it was decided at the start of the 2019/20 season that he would move out on loan.
A number of sides made pitches to take the young striker on a short-term deal, with Bristol City said to be close to a move at one stage.
However, Leeds United ultimately prevailed, signing Nketiah on transfer deadline day in August before the start of the new Championship season.
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But it was not a fruitful spell at Elland Road, with boss Marcelo Bielsa preferring Patrick Bamford in a starting role, and sticking rigidly to his one-striker system.
Nketiah was set to get a chance for a run in the first team in December, but an abodmen injury kept him out of action for a month.
Arsenal were said to be growing frustrated with the striker’s lack of game time before his injury, and he did not make his first league start for the club until December 29th. By then, rumours had started that the Gunners would end his loan deal prematurely.
And following Emery’s sacking and Mikel Arteta’s appointment, Nketiah was recalled to North London. Arsenal had the option to send him on loan elsewhere, but Arteta was said to be impressed with the 20-year-old, and decided to keep him at the Emirates Stadium until the end of the season.
So what is the latest with Nketiah’s situation at the Gunners?
Europa League squad
Nketiah has been included in Arsenal’s squad for the remaining Europa League fixtures this season – starting with Olympiacos in the Round of 32.
(Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
The striker has made seven previous appearances for the Gunners in Europe, but is yet to score. However, he should be able to see some action in the competition this season, with Arteta showing he is keen on rotation in cup competitions so far – with Leeds defeated in the FA Cup third round, and Nketiah impressing in the fourth round against Bournemouth.
Nketiah has also been included in the squad for the Premier League for the rest of the season following the closure of the January transfer window.
As he is still only 20 years old, the striker is categorised in the Under-21 and Scholar bracket.
Bielsa’s fresh dig
Leeds boss Bielsa has aimed a fresh swipe at Arsenal’s decision to recall the striker a month ago.
“Because Nketiah arrived here because Leeds was the ideal place to grow, because it was me who was going to coach him,” he said in a press conference.
“I know who I am and I don’t believe those messages. Everything around the transfer of Eddie was a lie, Nketiah came to play. In any way. He didn’t play and he left.