Mikel Arteta told he has already made Arsenal ‘statement’ before Gabriel Jesus transfer
Arsenal's Premier League Fixtures 2022/23
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has already made a statement over his striker options for next season by handing Eddie Nketiah the famous No 14 shirt, claims former Gunners winger Perry Groves. Nketiah has signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates after previously rejecting offers of a renewal.
The 23-year-old wanted assurances over his game time and starting the final eight Premier League matches of last season has seemingly given him that. Nketiah will now wear the jersey synonymous with the club’s all-time leading goalscorer Thierry Henry.
Theo Walcott and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have worn the number since. Groves still believes Arsenal need to sign a striker this summer, with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus the top target.
But he says Arteta has already made his intentions clear with Nketiah. And he has also praised the forward for having the confidence to take the new number.
Groves said on talkSPORT: “He’s taken the No 14 shirt. No [it’s not added pressure], I like the way that he’s actually taken it and thought ‘yes’.
“I would have thought that they would have talked about it and Arteta probably would have offered it to him. And that’s another statement saying ‘you’re going to be one of my main players’.
“It all depends who Arsenal sign because I still feel they need another forward, you need competition in places. Obviously following in Thierry Henry’s footsteps, following in Aubameyang’s footsteps.
“But I think it’s testament to Nketiah and his belief in himself that he’s actually been brave enough to take the shirt.” Nketiah has scored five goals in his last seven appearances in an Arsenal shirt.
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Arteta has always maintained he wanted the forward to stay at the club. Responding to the news of the new contract, Arteta outlined his excitement at what the future holds for the player. The Spaniard said: “I’m delighted Eddie is staying with us.
“He represents what we are all about and all the values of the club. We are very happy that he has extended his contract and now we have to get to work and continue to develop the great talent and person that we have in him.”
Nketiah will be hoping to start for Arsenal in their first game of the new season. The Gunners take on Crystal Palace on August 5 to kick off the Premier League campaign.
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