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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Eddie Nketiah confirms Unai Emery wanted him to remain at Arsenal this season

Arsenal youngster Eddie Nketiah has revealed that Unai Emery was in favour of the youngster continuing his development at the Emirates this season, before his loan move to Leeds United.

Nketiah’s career to date

Nketiah, a 20-year-old striker, has been on Arsenal’s books since 2015, when he made the move across London from Premier League rivals Chelsea.

After spending two seasons in the club’s youth setup, Nketiah’s goalscoring exploits saw him first handed a chance to impress as part of the Gunners’ first-team panel in 2017.

The 5-time capped English U21-international, though, subsequently struggled to carve out any meaningful game-time.

Last season saw Nketiah manage 5 Premier League appearances as part of Unai Emery’s senior squad. All of these, though, came from the bench.

Leeds switch

As such, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette firmly ahead of Nketiah in the centre-forward pecking order at the Emirates, the path to regular first-team minutes would likely have proven a difficult one to navigate for the 20-year-old once again this season.

As a result, it came as little surprise when, last month, it was confirmed that Nketiah had made the move to the Championship, with Leeds United, for the 2019/20 campaign:

And the former Chelsea man has since gone on to enjoy an impressive start to life at Elland Road:

‘Had me in his plans’

Speaking in an interview this week, though, Nketiah revealed that, had Arsenal boss Unai Emery had his way, he would actually have remained at the Emirates this season:

‘The manager wanted me to stay so it’s really confidence-boosting for me that he had me in his plans.’

The young hitman, however, felt that his progression would be best aided by a temporary stint away from north London:

‘But I felt like it was a good step for me to come to Leeds. I hope it’s a good year that can leave me in good stead going back to Arsenal to fight for a place.’

‘There were a lot of options, there were options for me to go to Germany but me, my family and the club decided Leeds was the best place.’

Quotes via the Daily Mail

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