A five-year deal pencilled at the end of an improved 2021/22 campaign signalled Mikel Arteta's faith in Eddie Nketiah, but a natural parting of ways could ensue less than two years on from the striker's lucrative new deal.
There's no denying Nketiah's improvement in recent years. Once a mere penalty box poacher, Eddie has evolved into a multi-faceted forward capable of fulfilling the #9 role in Arteta's system - just not to the same level as Gabriel Jesus.
While Nketiah has shown he's capable of matching Jesus' output, the Brazilian's ability to maximise the talents of those around him is what sets him apart from the Englishman. Eddie, despite performing admirably in Jesus' absence, is not going to usurp the former Man City man in the depth chart.
Alas, the January transfer window might represent the end of Nketiah's rollercoaster journey in north London. With Arsenal's ambition potentially leading to the purchase of a shiny new toy up top this winter, Nketiah will surely be sold as a makeweight. However, the club certainly aren't pushing the striker out of the door. Far from it.
Nevertheless, reports suggest £40m would be enough to sell the striker next month. But who could sign Arsenal's #14?
1. West Ham
West Ham have tried and tried again to sign their long-term number nine. The Hammers have often opted for an impressive continental figure such as Sebastien Haller or Gianluca Scamacca, but both were quickly ran out of the door after indifferent spells.
As a result, David Moyes still has premier bruiser Michail Antonio leading his line with Jarrod Bowen operating in a fluid striker position while the Jamaican's out injured.
Given their lack of forward options, West Ham should certainly be in the market for a forward that'd certainly enjoy playing with the likes of Bowen, Mohammed Kudus, and Lucas Paqueta.
Several Arsenal insiders have reporters Brentford's certain intrigue in Nketiah. The Bees will almost certainly be in the market for a new centre-forward given Ivan Toney's situation and Bryan Mbeumo's recent injury setback.
Thomas Frank is currently reliant upon Neal Maupay for a source of goals.
Nevertheless, while any swap deal including Toney and Nketiah appears unlikely, Brentford could nonetheless make a move for the Arsenal man. @MoArsenal86 on X reports that the Bees have enquired about Nketiah's availability.
3. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have been bereft of a star striker since Andy Johnson left town, although Odsonne Edouard has at least proved serviceable this season.
The Eagles are crying out for a prolific goalscorer to complement primary creators Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze.
While Nketiah is by no means an elite #9, he's a more than competent Premier League forward capable of scoring 15+ goals a season. He's adept as the lone frontman, with his latest strike against PSV Eindhoven proving to be a reminder of his proficiency in the box. He'd be a great option for Palace, but £40m might be too steep for the Eagles.