Leeds United summer transfer window chase ends as striker target chooses to stay put

Former Leeds United loanee Eddie Nketiah has penned a fresh long-term contract with Arsenal.

By Flora Snelson
Saturday, 18th June 2022, 2:04 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th June 2022, 2:07 pm

The 23-year-old was wanted by Leeds as the West Yorkshire side sought to bolster their squad with a new striker ahead of the 2022/2023 season.

United were left in trouble last term as injury to Patrick Bamford forced Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch to put together make-shift attacking units with players out of position and, as the club seek reinforcements this summer to avoid a repeat occurrence, Nketiah had been among those considered after the Londoner made a strong impression on loan at Elland Road in 2019.

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Former Whites boss Bielsa's preference to persist with a consistent starting line-up frustrated Nketiah, who found the first-team minutes he came for difficult to come by. His bid for a starting place was thwarted when, on the eve of a breakthrough at QPR, the youngster picked up an abdominal injury and after a month on the sidelines, Nketiah felt he was back to square one. Arsenal subsequently cut short his season-long loan spell by recalling the attacker in January and Nketiah ended his time in LS11 with five goals and one assist to his name.

With his Emirates contract due to run out at the end of June, there has been lots of speculation over the course of this season as to where Nketiah's future lies. The Whites were the bookies' favourites to secure the youngster when he turned down a new contract at Arsenal in December, unhappy with a lack of regular game time.

Since Christmas, though, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has handed Nketiah the opportunities he craves, and the striker ended the season on a high - bagging five goals in eight starts, including a brace against his relegation-battling former loan club in May.

"I'm delighted Eddie is staying with us," said Arteta.

Former Leeds United loanee Eddie Nketiah scored both goals as Arsenal beat the Whites 2-1 in May 2022. Pic: Ryan Pierse.

"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."

After holding talks with Nketiah, who is all-time top goalscorer for England Under-21s, before he committed to the North London side, Leeds' search for a striker goes on - they have a number of other targets for the role and director of football Victor Orta is currently working on landing one of them to strengthen Jesse Marsch's attacking options.

Eddie Nketiah was frustrated by the opportunities he was given during his loan spell at Elland Road. Pic: George Wood.
Leeds United are seeking a back-up striker after Patrick Bamford's extended absence to injury played a significant role in the Whites' relegation struggles last season. Pic: Geoff Caddick.