Leeds swooped for Arsenal ace Eddie Nketiah during the transfer window – but have the Premier League giants dropped a clanger by letting him depart?
The 20-year-old was on the score sheet again for the Championship outfit last night.
He bagged a late winner against Brentford to secure three points for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
Nketiah also found the net against Salford in the Carabao Cup on his debut.
The England U21 ace is viewed as a rising star in north London and is highly rated by Unai Emery.
But the Gunners have some big names in attack and his route to the first team didn’t look clear, for this season at least.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are Emery’s preferred attacking options.
Add new boy Nicolas Pepe into the mix and the Gunners have a potent forward line.
Despite dropping down a level, Nketiah season-long stay in Yorkshire could do wonders for his career.
First and foremost it’s become clear that he needs regular senior match action.
Over the last two season Nketiah’s made just 19 appearance for the Premier League giants.
Under Bielsa’s careful stewardship, he’s already proving his worth with the new season still in its infancy.
Arsenal will clearly benefit from Nketiah’s development one way or another, but it remains to be seen if Emery was a little too hasty sanctioning his exit.
Despite his array of attacking talent, squad strength and depth is crucial as the campaign drags on – and Arsenal have limited back-up options.
Reiss Nelson – who spent time at Hoffenheim in Germany last term – is available for selection. Another rising star, Joe Willock, is already getting time on the pitch.
However, with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, huge questions marks remain around whether the duo still have the motivation and ability to impress at the highest level.
Keeping Nketiah in north London was seriously considered by Emery after he dazzled in pre-season.
In fact, last month he ruled out a loan for his rising star.
“Last year in small moments when we could give him chances to be on the pitch he did very well,” he explained. “His progress can confirm, we want progress with every player.
“He has a very good attitude and they need experience, minutes and confidence. The young energy is very important.
“Nketiah was playing very well. Last year, in December we were thinking of loaning or not loaning the player to Germany and we decided he should stay with us to train and progress with us.
“We started this pre-season with the same idea as we finished last year.
“He’ll stay with us and my idea is that if you progress like we are seeing from you, you can have a chance with us.”
Emery changed in his mind and the bold call is clearly Leeds’ gain.
That said, it remains to be seen whether he’ll regret the decision as injuries and Arsenal’s exhaustive fixture inevitably takes their toll.