By Beck Pascal

22nd Dec, 2021 | 1:30pm

Mikel Arteta speaks out against Nketiah deal for Leeds United

Mikel Arteta has claimed Arsenal want to keep Eddie Nketiah amid Leeds United transfer rumours as the Whites look to bolster their squad.

The 22-year-old scored a hat-trick in the Gunners 5-1 victory over Sunderland in the EFL Cup quarter-final last night (December 21) at the Emirates.

TuttoMercatoWeb have reported in recent months that the Whites have already made contact to bring the former loanee back to Elland Road.

Arteta has played down the move, expressing Arsenal’s admiration for Nketiah. According to Leeds Live, he said:

“I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie,” Arteta said. “We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session.

“I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded. Recently he’s played more minutes than in the past and we’re going to need him and he’s going to play more minutes.

“The way we planned the squad and the way his situation looked in the window, he had a lot of options to go and we thought that was probably the best way to go.

“But the way we assembled the squad the situation changed and he decided to stay and it was hard to find minutes for him. But he’s finding the space right now and is using his minutes really well.”

Unfortunate

Barring a shock twist where Nketiah pushes for a move to the Whites, the signing doesn’t look to be happening. Understandably so with the Gunners’ starlet likely to get more minutes with Aubameyang in dismal form and the fitness of players all over the place. 

The move would have worked well from a perspective with Nketiah already having a relationship with some players, staff and fans as well as understanding what it means to be a Leeds United player.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a few extra – extremely talented – footballers around Thorp Arch, especially in today’s climate.

Although Marcelo Bielsa may look to prioritise other positions in January as Patrick Bamford return creeps closer with Rodrigo and Tyler Roberts as senior back up. 

Not to mention the impressive performances our own youngster Gelhardt has put in when called upon. 

This could be a blessing in disguise for Leeds and an opportunity to reevaluate what and who they need in the January transfer market.  

In other Leeds United news, Leeds United v Aston Villa under threat after Gerrard ‘common sense’ claim.