Marcelo Bielsa looking beyond 2020 for Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah at Leeds United
If Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa had his way, Eddie Nketiah wouldn’t just remain at Elland Road beyond January but beyond this season as well.
It has always been a possibility that the Arsenal loanee could return to his parent club when the transfer window opens and his lack of game time, a situation exacerbated by an abdominal injury, has given rise to concerns among Leeds fans.
But Bielsa revealed on Thursday that the 20-year-old had returned to full training and may play some part in today’s Under-23 game at Thorp Arch against Sheffield United as he builds up to a comeback to first-team football.
“He has trained well,” said Bielsa.
“Probably he is going to play a part in the 23s. Maybe he will need a while but I am not sure – to need time would be normal.”
The question of Nketiah’s continued presence in Yorkshire when the window opens has previously been met with an insistence from Bielsa that the loanee would stay if he felt at home.
This week Bielsa reiterated his hope that Nketiah would remain but went even further, suggesting a second season at Elland Road, where the head coach says he is highly valued, would benefit the youngster.
“I hope he will still be here and I hope he wants to stay with us,” said the Argentine.
“I think it’s important he solidifies his integration into Leeds and it would be good for that if he stays after January and one more year, so that he and Leeds are able to show the confidence we’re looking for in each other.
“That would be ideal to allow him to succeed at Leeds. It’s clear that we consider Nketiah to be a good player, we’re trying to make him feel that Leeds is the proper place for him to develop.
“Obviously we cannot compete with the top Premier League teams, but if Nketiah is a success here in Leeds, his next step is going to be the top Premier League clubs.”