Time to Go: Edu Must Finally Banish Arsenal Flop Who’s Earning as Much as Gabriel

Mikel Arteta’s inner circle of trusted players at Arsenal is a common practice among managers. It’s understandable, especially considering Arsenal’s position in the title race.

Bukayo Saka, the team’s top scorer with 20 goals this season, consistently starts on the right flank. David Raya is the preferred goalkeeper, while Gabriel and William Saliba form the preferred defensive duo. Martin Odegaard is usually paired with Declan Rice in midfield.

However, Arsenal have faced challenges with fatigue over the past two seasons due to a lack of trust in fringe players. For example, Emile Smith Rowe has only started twice in 2024, Reiss Nelson once, and Fabio Vieira hasn’t started at all.

This situation is puzzling, especially considering Vieira’s abilities as a creator. It’s surprising that he hasn’t been given more opportunities to showcase his talent.

While Vieira likely has a future at Arsenal, the same cannot be said for Smith Rowe or another Hale End graduate, Eddie Nketiah.

What the Future Holds for Nketiah

During the last two summers, uncertainties loomed over the English striker’s future. Yet, rather than seeking an exit, he committed to a new contract in 2022 and has remained with the team since. However, the wisdom of that choice is now under scrutiny.

His appearances under Arteta have dwindled in recent months, raising speculation about his potential departure. The Athletic’s David Ornstein shed light on the 24-year-old’s prospects in a Q&A session with subscribers. When questioned about Nketiah’s possible exit, the reporter addressed the situation:

“Nketiah’s lack of playing time this season feels telling. It suggests he might not be as central a part of their plans as would have been imagined when he signed his new contract. It is also not ideal for someone who is at a stage of his career where he needs and wants to be playing regular football.

“There has long been interest in Nketiah from the Premier League (Crystal Palace, for example) and abroad, plus his homegrown status means a sale would represent pure profit from a PSR perspective for Arsenal. So I imagine there is a good chance he moves on, but I’m not aware of any concrete developments yet.”

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Why Nketiah Has to Leave

Honestly, it’s quite clear; his reliability in front of goal is questionable.

Nketiah possesses admirable qualities; his work ethic and determination to improve are undeniable. However, his skill level doesn’t meet the standards required for consistent inclusion in a team vying for titles.

Regrettably, despite his past successes this season, his performance trajectory has been declining. Despite achieving milestones like his Premier League hat-trick against Sheffield United and earning his first England cap under Gareth Southgate, his form has plummeted.

Since then, he’s been on a downward spiral, despite his substantial £100k-per-week salary. To put this in perspective, he earns as much as Gabriel, a highly regarded Premier League defender, and more than David Raya, the Golden Glove winner, and Leandro Trossard, Arsenal’s second-top scorer.

Trossard, who earns £90k-per-week, has scored 16 goals this season, a stark contrast to Nketiah’s six goals in 37 games. Notably, Nketiah hasn’t scored a league goal since his hat-trick against Sheffield United and hasn’t found the net in any competition since December.

The emergence of Kai Havertz as a viable centre-forward option has further complicated Nketiah’s situation.

Nketiah has surprisingly featured more frequently than anticipated, especially with Gabriel Jesus facing injury setbacks. However, the German has excelled in his role, contributing to 13 goals in 17 matches as a striker this season.

Despite reports of Edu and his team pursuing a new center forward in the upcoming transfer window, indications suggest Nketiah may be on his way out. It’s always disheartening to see a promising academy graduate depart, but he has had his opportunities and it may be time to part ways.

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