Eddie Nketiah poised for long-term Arsenal contract after deciding to stay

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<span>Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images

Eddie Nketiah is expected to stay at Arsenal after deciding to accept the club’s offer of a new long-term deal.

The forward, who turns 23 on Monday, had been expected to seek a new challenge upon the expiry of his current deal in June, with West Ham, Crystal Palace and Brighton among a number of clubs at home and abroad monitoring his situation. However he forced his way into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI towards the end of the season and, after scoring five times in the final seven Premier League games, has been swayed by the possibility of continuing that form at Arsenal.

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It is a notable change in fortunes for Nketiah, who had played only 51 minutes in the league this season before February and had looked almost certain to move for regular starts. His eye for goal has rarely been in doubt but Arteta, who has been effusive in praising the player’s attitude and application, has also been encouraged by the development of his all-round game in recent months.

With Alexandre Lacazette virtually certain to depart when his contract runs out next month, Nketiah and Folarin Balogun will be the only recognised central attackers on Arsenal’s books. A new striker remains the club’s priority and Gabriel Jesus heads up their list of targets. Talks with the the Manchester City forward’s representatives have been held but any potential deal remains some way off.

Nketiah would be the second Arsenal player to sign a new deal since the season’s end. Mohamed Elneny, another who came in from the cold to feature strongly during the run-in, sealed a one-year extension this week.

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