West Ham United could have the chance to sign Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah.
But there’s a caveat to any possible deal for the young forward between West Ham and Arsenal.
That’s according to The Athletic’s Arsenal journalist James McNicholas.
West Ham and Arsenal have dominated the headlines so far this transfer window.
Arsenal and West Ham dominating transfer window headlines
Much of the talk this month has surrounded Arsenal – particularly Mesut Ozil – and Mikel Arteta having to shed players from a bloated squad.
But West Ham have been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation of their own, especially since selling £45million flop Sebastien Haller to Ajax last week.
The Hammers desperately need a new striker. And David Moyes has been linked with a plethora of forwards including Arsenal’s 21-year-old forward Nketiah (The Daily Mail).
The reported move for a young, English striker excites some West Ham fans. Others feel the Arsenal youngster is not up to it having struggled to get into the Leeds team in the Championship last season.
Arteta says no but Hammers still have hope claims Gunners insider
When asked this week whether he was considering allowing Nketiah to leave Arsenal in light of West Ham’s interest, Arteta simply told reporters: “No.” (Football London).
But it appears West Ham DO have a chance of signing Nketiah. Just maybe not until the summer.
That’s according to Gunners insider McNicholas, who has been covering the club for over a decade and co-hosts the Arsecast Extra Podcast.
McNicholas explained how Arsenal’s situation with their other young striker Folarin Balogun could influence West Ham’s chances of getting the England Under 21 star.
“Nketiah’s situation is complicated by that of Folarin Balogun,” McNicholas told The Athletic.
West Ham still have a chance to sign Nketiah but not until the summer
“The 19-year-old Balogun has a prolific record at academy level and has impressed in his early forays into the first team. Balogun’s contract is due to expire at the end of the current season, Nketiah’s runs out in 18 months — and both strikers are represented by the same agency, Elite Project Management. Keeping both and providing them with the desired assurances regarding first-team football is difficult.
“Perhaps the news that Balogun is close to signing a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, first reported by The Athletic, has worked in Nketiah’s favour. Balogun was conspicuous by his absence from the FA Cup squad. If his mind is made up, Arsenal are unlikely to invest much further time in his development. The injury to Martinelli has also bumped Nketiah up the pecking order.
“It seems Arsenal are determined to keep Nketiah until at least the summer. The real indicator of their faith in him will be whether they reward him with a new long-term contract.”
West Ham may well revisit the Nketiah situation in the summer.
Forward may only have a year left on contract come the summer
After all Moyes himself has said himself West Ham will wait until the summer if it means bringing in the right players.
The problem is the Hammers need a striker now. West Ham have made their best start to a season for 22 years.
That could be jeopordised by the fact Moyes only has one senior striker in the shape of injury-prone Michail Antonio.
Another big factor in the summer could be Arteta’s need to raise funds for transfers of his own. By that stage Nketiah could have just a year left to run on his contract. As a result Arsenal may decide to sell.
If West Ham were to sign Nketiah he would be reunited with Declan Rice. The duo used to play alongside one another for Chelsea’s youth team and remain friends.