Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola may have inadvertently reassured Eddie Nketiah over game time amid Arsenal’s interest in signing Gabriel Jesus.
Following months of speculation, Nketiah penned a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium and is now the club’s only recognised senior centre-forward, with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both leaving this year. City forward Jesus is one name on the club’s shortlist of replacements, football.london understands and technical director Edu has held talks with the Brazilian international’s representatives in recent times.
Interest in Jesus could of course impact Nketiah’s game time next season and the Hale End academy graduate made it no secret of his frustration with his lack of minutes during the first three-quarters of last season before he eventually started the final eight Premier League matches. Speaking to the Beautiful Game Podcast earlier this year, he said: “There have been offers of a new contract but at the moment my aim is to play football and play regularly.
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“That’s my ambition and that’s what I hope to do. But at the same time I’m at Arsenal; I love Arsenal.
“I’m just trying to focus on the season until May and make sure I finish that in a good way and then sit down and see what I think is the best opportunity to allow me to take those steps and develop. I feel like I’m at the stage where I’ve signed a contract for five years when I was 18 and in that five years, how many starts have I had here?
“I went on loan for six months and been here for the rest. And I have probably started about 30 games maybe in all competitions.”
Still, old comments from City boss Guardiola may reassure Nketiah that he will get game time next term even if Jesus joins the Gunners. Speaking about the former Palmeiras star, he said: “He’s a centre forward, he can play there, but when he is played wide he is more comfortable.
“We encourage him in central positions to be more open, to see the actions.” If Guardiola’s comments are to be believed, then Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could line-up with Jesus on the wing and Nketiah through the middle next season.
Source by Football London