As we mentioned earlier this week, Arsenal will almost certainly be looking towards their youth academy in order to fill up spots in the first team squad next season.
With limits in terms of transfer spending, young players may be offered the best opportunity they will ever have of breaking into the club’s starting eleven.
It makes it all the more surprising then that the Gunners are considering loaning out striker Eddie Nketiah this summer.
We highlighted the forward as one of four players who could make their breakthrough next campaign, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could make the case against it.
Nketiah has an excellent goalscoring record at youth level and even scored when given one of his rare chances in the first team against Burnley on the final day back in May.
So, on the face of things, it does seem very odd if the decision is made to loan him out to another club. There is, though, a very good case for Nketiah, in particular, to be sent out on a temporary basis.
Manager Unai Emery essentially kept the 20-year-old at the Emirates last season, in case of an injury crisis, but the problem was, even though Danny Welbeck was injured for most of the season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were almost ever-present.
Nketiah is still unlikely to displace either player next campaign, and rather than stunting his development, a loan switch could offer him regular game time and the chance to grow, both as a player and as a person.
He’s never been outside London Colney since he arrived from Chelsea in 2015, and the opportunity to see him flourish outside of that environment could be the making of the player.
For sure, Nketiah could also offer Arsenal cover in wide areas, but his main position is as a central striker, and if he can’t get ahead of either Lacazette or Aubameyang, he needs to start banging in goals at senior level elsewhere.
Both Liverpool’s Harry Wilson and Chelsea’s Mason Mount have shown at Derby that developing away from their parent clubs is possible. Reiss Nelson’s switch to Hoffenheim was also a very positive experience for the player by all accounts.
It is believed Nketiah’s future hasn’t been set in stone yet. He could still stay at the Emirates next season, but if he doesn’t, the club do have a clear justification in loaning him out.