Not only does he look like Eddie Nketiah is saving Arsenal millions of pounds this summer, but he is also set to receive his dream shirt number once it’s made official that he has signed a new five-year contract.
A couple of months ago, the idea of the former England U21 international going into the 2022/23 season still on the books at the Emirates Stadium didn’t seem feasible as he hadn’t started a single Premier League game up until mid-April and looked set to leave upon the expiry of his contract.
Although, he was always his aim to stay at Arsenal. “There have been offers of a new contract, but at the moment, my aim is to play football and play regularly,” he explained on The Beautiful Game Podcast towards the end of last season. “That’s my ambition, and that’s what I hope to do, but at the same time, I’m at Arsenal. I love Arsenal.”
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Upon Nketiah being granted his request for regular game time, it’s all but official that he’s decided to stay on as it’s been widely reported that he has agreed a new five-year deal that will keep him at the club until 2027. Furthermore, the contract is said to be worth £24m with the striker earning £100,000-a-week and there’s also a £5m bonus that will be paid out across the contract length.
A reason for their not yet being an announcement could be that Nketiah has been on holiday preparing for pre-season training which gets underway on June 27. But the fact he is included in a promotional poster for a pre-season game that takes place eight days after his current contract is due to expire suggests the club have let the cat out of the bag.
With that said, there appears to have been an interesting development surrounding Nketiah and the shirt number upgrade he’s due to receive after signing his new contract.
As revealed by the reliable @precbrown95 on Twitter, not only has the 23-year-old committed his future to the club but he has also confirmed that he will wear the number 14 shirt – which became vacant in the January transfer window following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit – from next season .
In addition, the tweet above includes an image of Nketiah’s autograph which has the number 14 in clear sight.
Last season, Nketiah wore no.30, but has previously hinted that no.9 – worn by Alexandre Lacazette since 2017 – is his favored option, although he does have a soft spot for the no.14 in honor of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry whom he got a chance to work under at Hale End.
“I was 16 and a first-year scholar,” Nketiah told The Athletic in November 2020. “I’d always tried to be like him in the playground, so to work with him was amazing. I had a great season with him. When I went to Leeds, the No 9 wasn’t available, but the 14 was and I loved that number.”
For Nketiah to take on the number 14 shirt number at Arsenal may point towards the no.9 shirt being saved for the club’s marquee signing in the summer transfer window. Gabriel Jesus remains the club’s prime target and it’s likely that the Brazilian would land this particular squad number, especially with Lacazette leaving at the end of the month.