Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, has given the teenage striker, Eddie Nketiah, a new contract that secures his long-term future with the club.
Eddie Nketiah has signed a new deal with Arsenal, and manager Mikel Arteta will reportedly soon present him with the team’s illustrious number 14 jersey.
Unlike his fellow Hale-End academy graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, the teenage forward did not have the same spectacular ascension to the Gunners’ first squad.
Nketiah scored twice on his debut, but he thereafter struggled to get senior minutes and was ultimately placed on loan at Leeds United, a team competing in the Championship at the time.
Similar issues at Elland Road forced him to be repatriated to the Emirates, where he has been forced to wait for a proper run of games to establish his credentials.
Nketiah was thrown in at the deep end and hardly looked back after Alexandre Lacazette’s injury toward the end of last season, when the Gunners were still vying for the highly desired fourth berth.
The Arsenal supporters made it clear who they wanted to continue leading the way even when Lacazette returned to fitness thanks to a brace against Chelsea during a historic 4-2 victory at Stamford Bridge.
The youthful forward followed up that performance at the Emirates with a determined showing against Manchester United.
Nketiah ended the campaign like a man on a mission, scoring twice more in the 2-1 home victory against Leeds United before capping it off with his fifth goal of the year in the rout of Everton on the final day.
Nketiah admitted he had always harbored one specific aim on the Beautiful Game podcast just before his successful run with the squad to close off the season.
The record goal scorer for England’s Under-21 team revealed, “It has always been my dream to be number nine for Arsenal.”
Although he won’t be sporting the number nine jersey next season, he’ll still have the opportunity to take the initiative like Arsenal’s number nine even though he’ll be wearing the number 14.
Nketiah has signed a new contract with the Gunners, ending the constant rumors about his future.
He will now wear the same jersey number as club legends Thierry Henry, Theo Walcott, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The fact that Arteta would entrust Nketiah with a number that carries much significance to Arsenal’s history speaks volumes about the kind of confidence he clearly has in the 23-year-old.
The teenage striker has received a lot of support from the Arsenal manager.
“If there is one guy that I have been unfair with, I think it’s him.” Arteta remarked following Nketiah’s heroics at Stamford Bridge.
“If Eddie doesn’t play more, it’s my problem and because as a manager I missed something or didn’t have the bravery to play him more.
He has given me every right to try something else. He continued to prove to me till today how incorrect I was.”