Arsenal have a trump card that they can use in negotiations with Brentford and Aston Villa in the January transfer window – Eddie Nketiah. With a forward likely to arrive at the Emirates Stadium this summer, the striker will fall down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta and he could be used as part of a player-plus-cash deal.
The Gunners have had an unbeaten start to the season, winning four and drawing two of their opening six matches of the campaign. With the sprinkling of new signings now fully integrated into the team, Arteta will be hoping that he has a squad capable of going one better than last season and winning the Premier League.
But Arsenal still do not appear to be the finished article despite splashing the cash over the summer. Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard remain the Gunners’ most influential attackers and Arteta is in the market for a striker to add even more goals to the forward line.
Brentford star Ivan Toney is being heavily considered by Arsenal, with reports claiming that Villa star Ollie Watkins remains a target in north London despite his slow start to the season in front of goal. Both players would set Arsenal back significant sums given premiums are placed on players in January – and they are both England internationals proven at the very top level.
Therefore, the Gunners could be tempted to ‘cut costs’ by offering Nketiah as part of a deal involving one of the aforementioned stars. Nketiah would provide Villa or Brentford with a ready-made replacement who could prompt either side to lower their asking prices.
Over the summer it was reported by Just Arsenal that the higher powers at the Emirates Stadium would demand a fee in the region of £40million to sell Nketiah and that valuation is unlikely to have changed significantly given that he has featured on several occasions so far this season.
The Gunners using the 24-year-old as a makeweight in negotiations could give them the upper hand if other clubs arrive with offers for Toney or Watkins, who will both surely cost in excess of £60m.
Chelsea have also been linked with both players previously and are expected to be in the market for a striker in January after Nicolas Jackson’s slow start to life in the Premier League.
Tottenham are also in the race to sign Toney and have registered an interest, and following the sale of Harry Kane to Bayern Munich late in the summer, they will have the funds to be able to enter a bidding war if required.
So Arsenal may need to get clever in order to do a deal. Nketiah could the trump card they need to land the ruthless No 9 they’re searching for.