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Arsenal 'desperate to keep Eddie Nketiah'

:Headline: Arsenal 'desperate to keep Eddie Nketiah':
Arsenal are now determined to avoid losing Eddie Nketiah on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to a report.
Sports Mole

Arsenal are reportedly determined to tie striker Eddie Nketiah down to a new contract before the end of the season.

The 22-year-old has entered the final two months of his existing contract at the Emirates Stadium and has been widely expected to leave on a free transfer when those terms expire.

Nketiah struggled to get a look-in over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette and continued to play second fiddle to the latter after Aubameyang left for Barcelona.

However, with Lacazette only managing four Premier League goals this season - two of which have come from the penalty spot - Nketiah forced his way into the side during his teammate's COVID-19 absence.

England Under-21s' all-time leading goalscorer had repaid Mikel Arteta's faith in him with four goals in five Premier League starts - registering back-to-back braces against Chelsea and Leeds United.

Nketiah bagged his double against Leeds with only 10 minutes on the clock - becoming only the second-ever player to do so for Arsenal in a Premier League game alongside Nwankwo Kanu.

Despite the initial expectation that Nketiah would seek pastures new in the summer, The Mirror now reports that Arsenal are going all out to keep the striker on the books.

The report adds that Arsenal are optimistic about an agreement being struck after reigniting talks with the player's entourage, even though he allegedly rejected offers of a new deal over the winter.

Nketiah can supposedly look forward to a lucrative wage if he elects to pen fresh terms at the Emirates, but numerous clubs are ready to pounce if he advances his career elsewhere.

Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United are said to be four of six Premier League clubs keen on a deal for the Hale End product, while a pair of European teams are also keeping a close eye on developments.

Bayer Leverkusen have been previously credited with an interest in Nketiah, who has now struck 22 goals in 89 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions.

In spite of his goalscoring woes, Arsenal are also reported to have tabled a one-year extension to Lacazette, whose current terms also run out in June.

However, there is a growing expectation that the 30-year-old will return to Lyon five years after departing the French club to sign for Arsenal in the summer of 2017.

Arteta's side are expected to prioritise the signing of a new striker either way, and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus has seemingly emerged as a leading target for the Gunners.

The Premier League champions confirmed the signing of Erling Braut Haaland from Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, which will aid Arsenal's bid to sign Jesus if the Norwegian pushes him down the pecking order.

Nketiah is expected to lead the line for Arsenal in Thursday's North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur, where a win would guarantee their place in the 2022-23 Champions League. body check tags ::

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