Arsenal need to try their absolute best to tie down Eddie Nketiah to a new contract because plenty of other clubs will be interested in signing him, according to Graeme Souness. Nketiah put in a brilliant performance for the Gunners in their 2-1 win over West Ham on Sunday and Souness believes the game showed why Mikel Arteta would be crazy to let him leave.
Nketiah is out of contract with Arsenal on July 1, but has been showing his club what he can offer over the past few games. With Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang gone and Alexandre Lacazette on the bench, the 22-year-old striker has stepped up to the plate to help the Gunners win three successive Premier League games.
He did not get on the score sheet at the London Stadium, but he was one of the stand-out players nonetheless. Rob Holding gave Arsenal the lead when he headed home Bukayo Saka’s pinpoint corner but West Ham went in level at half-time thanks to Jarrod Bowen’s deflected finish.
Gabriel Magalhaes produced a diving header from Gabriel Martinelli’s back-post cross to make it 2-1 and Arsenal held onto their lead as Nketiah caused the hosts problems with his pace on the counter-attack. The victory ensured Arsenal moved back in fourth place following Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Leicester earlier in the day.
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“I think he looked a threat throughout, he was up for a cut, in terms of having an argument and I really like him. I think today he was fabulous.”
Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith was in full agreement with Souness’ assessment of Nketiah’s performance. “He’s not doing himself any harm with the way he’s performing and that might encourage him to stay,” Smith said.
“When he’s come on as a sub, he’s jogged around. His overall game is much better and he’s putting himself around. You move away and chances are, it’s going to be a step down. He’s got a bit of pace and the whites of the post in mind. He was unlucky not to score in this game.”