With Jack Clarke and Eddie Nketiah both joining Leeds United on loan in the summer, Elland Road has provided the backdrop to the first battle between two youngsters who Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping become stalwarts of North London derbies for years to come.
Clarke was loaned back to Leeds after joining Spurs in a £10 million deal at the start of the window (fee reported by the Daily Mirror), while Nketiah arrived on deadline day as Marcelo Bielsa looked to bolster his striker ranks.
Interestingly, neither man has started a league game for Leeds this season. But amid reports from the Daily Mirror that Spurs are planning to recall Clarke in January, it is clear that one player is winning the first battle between the two by some distance.
Clarke has become a forgotten man at Leeds. The youngster has missed out on the club’s last five Championship squads due to the Whites having six loanees on their books.
And worryingly for the 18-year-old, the large majority of Leeds fans do not appear to be calling for Clarke’s return. Bielsa’s men are flying right now, and their wide players have been in excellent form.
Nketiah flying as Clarke struggles
Meanwhile, Nketiah may also be awaiting his first league start, but his situation could hardly be more different.
The 20-year-old has scored four goals in six appearances in all competitions. His popularity seems to be increasing with every appearance. It was his goal that broke the deadlock in the 84th minute at Barnsley at the weekend.
Patrick Bamford has been extremely impressive during the opening weeks of the season. And yet, it still appears to be a matter of time before Nketiah does get that first start.
The Arsenal fans clearly have high hopes for Nketiah. But the Tottenham supporters would be forgiven for having their concerns about Clarke’s future.
It is not going to be easy for either player to break into their parent clubs’s first-teams. But Nketiah’s form suggests that Arsenal’s decision to send him to Elland Road will be vindicated in some style.
Meanwhile, Clarke appears to be facing a much tougher task trying to make the grade at Tottenham.
Clarke has more than enough time and talent to turn his fortunes around. But in the first battle between two future North London rivals, there is no question that it is the Arsenal man currently enjoying the bragging rights.