Mikel Arteta says Arsenal have an absolutely 'incredible' 23-year-old in their squad he could use more now
Mikel Arteta has talked up the ability of Eddie Nketiah to replace Gabriel Jesus in the Arsenal starting lineup.
Jesus got injured during the World Cup and Arteta told the club’s official website that he is ‘unique’ in what he gives the side.
But Arteta also renewed Nketiah’s Gunners contract in the summer and this is the opportunity to shine that the 23-year-old has been waiting for.
The Spaniard admitted Arsenal could dip into the transfer market to cover for Jesus when the window opens next month, but at this stage a winger seems like the priority.
Arteta on Jesus and Nketiah
Arteta said of Jesus’ injury: “It’s a huge blow for us, obviously. He’s such an important player.
“He’s brought something very different to the team and it’s impossible to replace him.
“But we have other players, other alternatives and we’ll try to get that sorted. The transfer window is another option.
“I think [Jesus] is a unique player but Eddie [Nketiah] has incredible qualities as well for the way we want to play.”
Having given Nketiah a show of faith with a contract extension in the summer when it looked like he would leave, Arteta can give him another huge one if he backs him to lead the line in Jesus’ absence.
If Nketiah can fire in the goals to keep Arsenal’s title challenge on track, his status within the squad will rise and he will prove them right to keep him on.
The pressure is on but Nketiah will have wanted a chance in the Premier League like this, and he is a good goalscorer, who just needs to add as much of Jesus’ all-round game to the team as he possibly can in his absence.