EDDIE NKETIAH is giving Unai Emery second thoughts after showing he is ready for Premier League football.
The Arsenal boss had been minded to send Nketiah out on loan this season, with a possible move to Championship club Bristol City in the pipeline.
But now he believes the 20-year-old striker is already good enough to challenge Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for a regular starting place at the Emirates.
Emery’s change of heart comes after Nketiah’s two-goal contribution to this latest pre-season friendly victory which came just three days after his last-minute winner against Bayern Munich.
Emery admitted: “Last year in December we were thinking to loan him to Augsburg in Germany.
“But in the end we decided it would be better for him to stay at Arsenal to train and progress with us.
“We started this pre-season with the same idea – if we like what we are seeing from him, he can have a chance here with us.
“I have spoken with Eddie and he has some doubts if it is better for him to stay at Arsenal or to leave on loan and play more minutes with another team.
“But we have some examples of young players last season who wanted away and didn’t play as much as we wanted them to.
“I have told him that first of all I want him to be focused here and if he earns the right to be with us it’s because I can promise that he is going to have the minutes he wants.
“But in those minutes he needs to learn and in this pre-season he’s playing like we want and we are very happy with him.
“Last year we had Aubameyang, Lacazette and Danny Welbeck and they all had space to play.
“But at the moment we didn’t sign another striker because we want to give the chances to Nketiah.”
The London-born academy graduate terrorised Fiorentina’s defence with his blistering pace and showed real maturity to turn his man and fire Arsenal into a 15th minute lead.
He struck again midway through the second-half with a close-range finish after good work down the right by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lacazette.
Teenager Joe Willock completed a comfortable win in the 89th minute but Emery was still not satisfied with the performance.
He said: “The result is not important but in the first half we didn’t control the game like we wanted with possession and build-up.
“We created chances but we also conceded a lot. In the second half with four at the back we found a better structure to control the game.”
This post written by Jack Figg originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.