Bristol City Opinion: Signing Eddie Nketiah on loan could be a smart move
According to The Sun, Bristol City have been credited with an interest in Arsenal starlet Eddie Nketiah, with the report claiming that Robins boss Lee Johnson is keen to sign the 20-year-old England U-21 international on a season-long loan deal.
Bristol are not the only club to have expressed an interest in acquiring the youngster’s services, though, with the Sun suggesting that a few Premier League clubs are also in the race to sign Nketiah on loan.
Nketiah only played a bit-part role in the first-team under Unai Emery last season and Arsenal believe that regular minutes in the Championship next term would serve his development better, the Sun claims.
The 20-year-old scored his first Premier League goal in the 3-1 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on the final day of the season but he might as well be heading to the Championship for the upcoming campaign, with Ashton Gate touted as a potential destination for the emerging star.
Born in Lewisham, London, Nketiah started his career in the youth ranks at Chelsea before joining the Arsenal academy upon his release from the Blues set-up at the U-14 level.
Nketiah made rapid progress through the youth ranks at Arsenal and was called up to the senior side by former manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the 2017-18 season following a prolific campaign with the U-23 side.
The 20-year-old eventually made his senior debut for the Gunners against BATE Borisov in the Europa League before emerging as the saviour against Norwich City in the League Cup, where he came on as a late substitute and turned the game in favour of the Gunners with two goals.
Nketiah made only 5 substitute appearances in the Premier League for Arsenal under Emery this past season, with the youngster filling in the numbers on the bench as understudy to the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
A regular for England at all youth levels, Nketiah has represented the Young Lions from U-16 to U-21 levels and was a part of the team that won the 2018 Toulon Tournament in France.
Regarded as one of the brightest prospects to have emerged from Arsenal’s academy in recent times, Nketiah has earned rave reviews for his athleticism, agility, pace, technical abilities and a deadly eye for goal at the reserve level.
To put things into perspective, Bristol City should look at Eddie Nketiah as someone who could add that X-Factor and much-needed depth to their strike force in the upcoming season.
The 20-year-old is still very much in the formative years of his career and while the Robins have more established players like Andreas Weimann and Famara Diedhiou up front, Nketiah can offer Lee Johnson a bit more luxury in terms of team selection, especially for the domestic cup fixtures.
Looking at things from Arsenal’s perspective, the Gunners have made a sensible call by putting Nketiah on the loan list, given that he needs regular minutes under his belt to continue his development.
It is a no-brainer that Nketiah, though an immensely talented striker, is far from the finished article who can deliver the goods in the Premier League on a regular basis but a loan stint in the Championship should do him a world of good.
Importantly, Bristol City have impressed with the handling of their loan players in recent times, with manager Lee Johnson fielding the likes of Tomas Kalas and Jay DaSilva in his first-team regularly this past season.
Hence, Arsenal have every reason to be hopeful that Nketiah might also receive a similar kind of involvement at Ashton Gate next season.
The Robins have already made the headlines this summer by striking permanent deals for loanees Jay DaSilva and Tomas Kalas, whilst goalkeeper Daniel Bentley has also signed from Brentford.
Johnson looks to have his problems at the back sorted out but he could do with a few more attacking reinforcements, although Bristol have already brought in Sammie Szmodics and Tommy Rowe on free transfers from the lower divisions.
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All in all, Eddie Nketiah’s links to Aston Gate makes perfect sense for all parties involved and the Robins should try and wrap up the deal before the deadline.