Eddie Nketiah is out of contract at Arsenal in the summer and has decided to delay talks over a new potential deal due to being restricted in his game time at the Emirates
Nketiah, 22, joined the Gunners in 2017 after coming through Chelsea’s youth ranks. He signed his first professional contract with the club at 18, but has found game time difficult to come by, making just under 90 appearances across all competitions.
Making his 17th outing of the season at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Souness was full of praise for the youngster. “I thought Nketiah was the best player on the pitch today,” he said on Sky Sports. “He was always threatening, wanted to run forward, without the ball, stretch the defenders – ideal for a midfield player.
“His contract has virtually run out? I’m amazed at that. I really am. He will not be short on clubs wanting him. I thought he looked at threat throughout, I really like him. I thought today he was fabulous. If that’s his general standards, he won’t be short of teams wanting him.”
The striker who will be out of contract in June, decided to delay discussions over a potential fresh deal until the end of the regular season. Nketiah has found game time hard to come by this year, making just three league starts under boss Mikel Arteta.
Previously speaking on the Beautiful Game Podcast, the 22-year-old explained his decision: “There have been offers of a new contract but at the moment my aim is to play football and play regularly. That’s my ambition and that’s what I hope to do but at the same time I’m at Arsenal, I love Arsenal.
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“I’m just trying to focus on the season until May and make sure I finish that in a good way and then sit down and see what I think is the best opportunity to allow me to take those steps and develop. I feel like I’m at the stage where I’ve signed a contract for five years when I was 18 and in that five years, how many starts have I had here?
“I went on loan for six months and been here for the rest and I have probably started about 30 games maybe in all competitions.I see players my age that I’ve played with and they kick on and it’s like ‘what’s the difference between someone I was playing with at England Under-21s?’.
“I was the captain and they’re doing more. It’s not even a thing of looking at them and hating them, I’m happy for them, but how did they get to the point where they are feeling confident and it’s through playing those games and having that experience. For me to take the next step and get to where I think I can get to I obviously need to consider getting more minutes.”
Nketiah spent six months at Leeds on loan during the 2019/20 season helping the Whites to their Championship title and promotion to the Premier League, making 17 Championship appearances while contributing to three goals.