The striker position was an absolute priority for Arsenal this summer after the departures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The ageing pair had been the Gunners’ frontline attack for a number of seasons as the club continued to regress.
It was time for an overhaul but there were few who likely thought that Eddie Nketiah would be such a big part of it. The Arsenal academy graduate is set to earn a serious pay rise after signing a new five-year deal with the club.
Further to the former England under-21 captain, Arsenal are closing on a deal to bring Gabriel Jesus to the club. This should not be understated; Jesus is a proven Premier League forward with titles galore to his name and lauded by Pep Guardiola for his wide array of strengths.
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However, after the renewal and acquisition of Jesus, it appears Arsenal’s work in the striker department will end here. The club are looking at a wide forward in Raphinha and the versatile defender Lisandro Martinez, but there is no word on further recruitment centrally.
This means that Jesus and Nketiah would be the Gunners’ only options going into the brand-new season. Folarin Balogun could be a third although he seems destined for another loan spell having shown his quality in the Championship to some degree with Middlesbrough.
When it is factored in what a summer that sees Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos and Matt Turner signed plus the prospective deals for Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha, Lisandro Martinez plus a possible central midfield addition too costs and it makes sense that another striker isn’t being bought in. Perhaps had Arsenal qualified for the Champions League, instead of renewing Nketiah, more money might have been made available to chase another striker? We may never know for sure.
However, Nketiah’s renewal shouldn’t be a cause to turn any noses up at. Had the Gunners sourced a player with five goals in his last eight games in the Premier League it would have been interesting to see the reaction and how different it would have been to Nketiah’s new deal.
Despite the reportedly high wages, which would still likely have been lower than that of a marquee striker signing, Arsenal avoided paying a further transfer fee that can now be directed toward another area of need. Something which could prove pivotal in the season to come.
With all that said, the window can still throw up some surprises and with more than two months left, maybe there will be one in store nearer its conclusion. A loan move for a target man, or plan B style striker, would be my pick.
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