In pictures: Eddie Nketiah follows in ‘idol’ Thierry Henry’s Arsenal footsteps after being handed No14 shirt

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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Eddie Nketiah has considerable shoes to fill at Arsenal after signing a new long-term contract at the club.

The 23-year-old striker’s incredible Emirates turnaround was completed after he officially put pen to paper on a deal that is expected to run until 2027.

Just a matter of weeks ago Nketiah had looked overwhelmingly likely to leave Arsenal when his previous contract expired in June in pursuit of more regular first-team football, with London rivals Crystal Palace among the clubs vying for his signature.

However, the Hale End academy graduate - released by Chelsea as a youngster - dramatically changed his fortunes after displacing departing captain Alexandre Lacazette as Mikel Arteta’s main striker towards the end of the season and netting five goals in eight appearances.

Now Nketiah looks set to stay at Arsenal for the long haul and offer competition and support for whichever high-profile striking addition is made this summer, with the Gunners increasingly confident over reaching a compromise with Manchester City over a deal for Gabriel Jesus.

While Jesus would surely be likely to take on the No9 shirt vacated by Lacazette upon his free transfer back to Lyon, Nketiah has been given his own iconic shirt number to go along with that new deal.

Arsenal confirmed that he would be ditching the No30 in favour of the No14 made famous by club icon and all-time leading goalscorer Thierry Henry between 1999-2007.

That jersey number had been vacant since former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure from north London to Barcelona after almost five years in January, while Theo Walcott also wore it after Henry. Martin Keown, Ray Parlour and Alan Smith are among the other Arsenal favourites to have donned the No14.

But Nketiah would appear to relish the pressure. This is not the first time he has worn the number of his idol, having also opted for that shirt during his productive loan spell at Leeds during the 2019/20 season.

“Nine is a favourite number of mine as well but I really like 14,” Nketiah said at that time. “You can all guess why, with Henry as my favourite player growing up, my idol.

“I’ve always wanted to wear the No14 like him. I like it and it’s a number that I’ve always worn growing up. When I knew that opportunity was available to wear, I didn’t really think twice.”

Click through the gallery above to see the first pictures of Nketiah donning Arsenal’s famous No14 shirt!