Eddie Nketiah enjoyed another sterling pre-season this summer, after he impressed in the previous pre-season. The young striker bagged goals and generally impressed in our friendly games, and against strong opposition, and certainly put himself in the frame in regards to Unai Emery’s future teams.
His performances were enough to earn him a high profile loan move to Leeds United – which will almost certainly decide where his Arsenal future lies – as our next striker or ushered toward the exit door.
The Yorkshire club were reportedly amongst a host of sides who were lining up to take Nketiah into their fold for the coming campaign – a confidence booster for the youngster and a mark of the quality that Nketiah possesses. He could well be the difference between a side gunning for promotion and one mired in ignominy – and Marcelo Bielsa’s side will most certainly be looking up toward the top.
Leeds narrowly missed out on promotion last season, and the pressure is on to deliver a return to the Premier League. A high profile name like Bielsa and a strong fanbase baying for a return to the big time means that Leeds United have expectations – and the pressure will be good for Nketiah’s development.
If Nketiah wishes to return to Arsenal and have genuine hope of being first the backup, and then our premier goal-getter, he first has to jump this considerable hurdle.
What is success for Nketiah this season? The striker will need to bag a minimum of 15 goals over the season for this loan spell to avert mediocrity. He no doubt has the talent, but can he avoid injury and stay in favour with Bielsa?
Nketiah is on the verge of something special, but there are many pitfalls to avoid before he pulls on an Arsenal shirt and is associated with the first team.
This move is the right one for his development right now. Succeed at Leeds and our next pre-season may well be the one where Nketiah pushes himself into contention.
Good luck Eddie!