Arsenal have made a string of errors in the transfer market dating back to the years well before Mikel Arteta and Unai Emery ever patrolled the touchline.
The mistakes aren’t reserved solely for signings, even if the £72m spent on Nicolas Pepe succeeds in looking more careless by the minute, with the cause of these failings running deep with many spiraling roots.
An inferiority complex the club has had over selling players has played its role. Whether fearful of fan backlash or too reluctant to throw the proverbial towel in on talent, presentable sale opportunities have passed by without so much as a second’s thought of being accepted.
Eddie Nketiah is one of the more notable cases, with Arsenal once again set to be the victims of their own shortcomings.
Arsenal set for huge Eddie Nketiah loss as the club’s transfer failings will see the ever improving striker depart for free in at the end of the season
Opportunities have gone by for the club to cash in on Nketiah, or to at least loan him out. A decision was made to put their faith in Folarin Balogun, someone whose stock had risen exponentially over the course of 12 months, at time where Nketiah’s had angled in the other direction.
Given the former Cobham youth failed to nail down a starting berth ahead of both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the fleeting substitute appearances and the resulting performances were never going to match either his or Arsenal’s ambitions.
Failure to secure a permanent move away in the summer – the reasons for that uncertain yet unlikely to be down to one single party – Nketiah has been left in an unfortunate limbo: he is not a first team participant nor is he taking minutes off Balogun in the Under-23’s.
Unwilling to pen fresh terms as the final year of his contract runs down, the striker is left to feed off Carabao Cup scraps. But he’s filled his stomach on them. Not sparkling by any means, Nketiah showed further signs of progress on Tuesday.
With two goals in two starts against AFC Wimbledon and Leeds, the 22-year-old has not only found the back of the net, he’s also unearthed a more rounded, complete game. One dimensional in his play, that fox in the box nature has been developed alongside more efficient hold-up play, bursts into the channels and fine-tuned one-touch link up.
There are more strings to his bow. To be improving those aspects with next to no competitive action will entice and encourage a European and British market always on the hunt for goals. It’s now 15 in 67 appearances for Arsenal, which is a commendable record considering the lion’s share of those have been substitute outings.
Clubs will see what improvements he’s making and the suitors will line up. Can Arsenal prevent that? Can they keep him? And, perhaps more importantly, should they keep him?
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