On this week’s Daily Cannon Arsenal podcast, one of the questions from a listener concerned Eddie Nketiah and what happens when he returns from loan at Leeds United.
Anita: There’s a question from @durrellb who asks, “is Eddie Nketiah gonna be given a chance in the first team when he comes back and do we think that he deserves one?”
Matthew: There are still rumours that his loan might get terminated early because he’s not starting games for Leeds United, and Bristol City are still kind of going “we’ll take you whenever we can!”.
I think inevitably he’ll get game time. How much game time is another question because of course, Lacazette and Aubameyang are going to be quite hard to get games ahead of, but there’s definitely been times where he would have been a nice option to have off the bench.
Martinelli has shown a great deal in the Europa League and League Cup. That’s not great for Eddie, that. But the fact is when he is playing for the under 21s, Eddie’s scoring goals like there’s no tomorrow.
I think he’s breaking records at that age group. And for Leeds, despite the fact he’s not started in the league, he’s still got 4 or 5 goals for them, some in the cups.
We know what Eddie is. He isn’t an all-round striker at this point. He is a poaching goalscorer who can run the channels very well and is hard-working, but he’s hard-working in terms of, as Bielsa’s analysis said, he runs more than Bamford, but Bamford runs to try and connect with others and play more of a build up game, whereas Nketiah runs to be more of a goalscorer. The way that his team is set up Bamford’s a better fit at the moment. But Nketiah’s still a very good option.
Anita: He tends to be a substitution striker. Like, he comes in late in the second half, when everyone else is getting tired.
Matthew: I think he’s certainly got the potential to be the equivalent of United players in that role in the past, you know, Solskjaer or Chicharito, because he scores different types of goals.
His movement off the ball is exceptional, and lest we forget, he’s still very young! So he’s still got plenty of time to continue improving.
But if and when he does come back to Arsenal, unless we end up having to sell either of our two strikers, and who knows what’ll happen with contract renewals, then he will have to settle for a place on the bench.
Obviously depending on what happens this season, whether we get Champions League, whether Lacazette and Aubameyang have their contracts renewed, then everything could change because if they refuse to sign new contracts then, under the new way we’re running the club, they’re going to get sold.
Anita: Yeah, that’s true.
Matthew: But I still have long term hopes for Eddie Nketiah simply because I think, as I said on this podcast before, I think he’s got the real potential to be the Andy Cole we keep this time because he’s a very similar sort of player, only with possibly slightly greater diversity of finishing.
And Andy Cole at his best, when he was at Newcastle and when he first went to United, was a very, very, very effective centre forward.
You can hear what else they had to say on Episode 220: VAR! Xhaka! Emery! Ozil! The Arsenal soap opera continues or subscribe in any good podcast app to make sure you never miss an episode.