Arteta feels Aubameyang will be boosted by return of fans
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Arsenal will be fretting over the expiring contracts of their stars next summer, with young talent Eddie Nketiah at the forefront of players who could leave on a free.
Nketiah, 22, joined Arsenal aged sixteen from Chelsea’s youth academy after his release from the Blues.
The Lewisham-born striker has gone from strength to strength at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 13 goals in what can mostly be considered sub appearances.
However, with the club’s key attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette ahead of him in the pecking order, Nketiah has found it hard to maintain a starting spot under Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners reportedly attempted to sell Nketiah in the summer transfer window, with Crystal Palace interested in the youngster.
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However, the Eagles opted for Celtic talisman Odsonne Edouard instead after they couldn’t agree terms with Nketiah – leaving Arsenal fretting over his future.
The England U21 captain has just ten months left on his contract and can therefore leave on a free to foreign clubs next season if he agrees a pre-contract agreement in January.
And this would spell yet another disastrous setback in Arsenal’s torrid season.
Mikel Arteta’s men will be keen to avoid such a situation, especially as it has happened to other big clubs in the Premier League before.
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Perhaps the most notable incident was Paul Pogba’s departure to Juventus, with the Frenchman leaving United at the age of 19, only to be signed back for a then-record transfer fee of £89million.
Pogba’s case has given clubs an indication as to what can happen when letting young players’ contracts run down – although it has also given players a new lease of life in considering their future.
And with first-team football limited at Arsenal, it could well be that Nketiah follows in Pogba’s footsteps.
Arsenal reportedly wanted £20m for the youngster, before reducing their asking price to just £12m at the end of the window.
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But if Nketiah was to leave, not only would the Gunners miss out on a fee, but they’d not be able to insert a sell-on fee either.
The Gunners have started their season horrifically, entering the international break at the bottom of the table without scoring a goal.
But with fellow strugglers Norwich next up at home, they will look to pick up their first points of the season.
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