Mikel Arteta has suggested, in comments reported by Football London, that Eddie Nketiah could stay at Arsenal for the rest of the season rather than go out on loan.
Many will be expecting Nketiah to leave the Emirates on loan again this month. The 20-year-old spent the first-half of the campaign on loan at Leeds United, but has been recalled after only making a couple of starts for the Whites.
Goal reports that Nketiah is discussing a swift return to the Championship. Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City all want the youngster, and Goal suggested that the Gunners have held talks with all three.
But Arteta appears to have suggested that he is not closing the door on the idea of keeping Nketiah beyond this month.
“I sat down with him and was very impressed with him,” he said, as reported by Football London. “I think it was a great challenge for him to work in that environment in Leeds. I think he’s become a much better player, a much more competitive player.
“Then the decision to make now is whether it’s better to send him out for another five months to realise his potential and have him ready for next season, or keep him here. It’s something we have to discuss in the next few days.”
There are likely to be plenty of Gunners fans who would back Arteta if he decided to keep Nketiah. The supporters were regularly left expressing their frustration when Leeds’s starting lineups would be announced and the summer signing was left on the bench.
There is bound to be concern that he could find himself in a similar situation if he leaves again.
He is likely to play even less if he remains at the Emirates for the rest of the season. But he should certainly benefit from working closely with Arteta, as well as strikers such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.