Mikel Arteta believes Eddie Nketiah will be on the brink of a senior England call-up if the in-form striker continues his impressive start to the season.
Nketiah has scored poacher’s goals in his past two outings, emerging from the bench to convert the winner against West Ham and scoring a last-minute clincher in the Carabao Cup victory at Leicester. The 21-year-old has a record better than a goal every two full games in the Arsenal first team and has shone at England level too, scoring eight times in as many caps for the under-21s. Arteta has made a project of Nketiah since the player’s return from a loan at Leeds in January and believes that can lead to a call from Gareth Southgate.
“If he keeps performing in the way he has been with us in the last few months he will have a really good chance and as well, I think culturally, England and the manager are really brave with young kids,” he said. “It’s up to them, they have to be consistent and keep doing what they’re doing at club level and then that opportunity will come in a natural way.”
Nketiah will challenge Alexandre Lacazette for a place in the starting lineup at Liverpool on Monday. Next week will otherwise be dominated by the buildup to the international transfer deadline and Arteta did not entirely knock down a link with the Chelsea midfielder, Jorginho. Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar of Lyon are long-standing targets but Arsenal are also examining alternatives given both deals would be complicated and contingent, as would any move for Jorginho to some extent, on players leaving.
“We are still open to improve our team,” he said when questioned directly about Jorginho. “We are looking for different options depending on what happens with some of our players here so we are getting prepared just in case we need to do something.”
Lucas Torreira could be among those to leave, with personal terms believed to have been agreed with Atlético. The nature of that deal is one sticking point, with Arsenal seeking a fee and the La Liga side a loan. Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi and Shkodran Mustafi are among other players whose futures may be decided over what promises to be a frantic next 10 days.
Arsenal remain interested in the Brentford goalkeeper David Raya but that situation is understood not to have advanced since their latest £10m bid was rejected last week. Raya is keen to move but one of Brentford’s stipulations, a loan back, is not currently of interest to Arsenal.