For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter
Arsenal fans have questioned Mikel Arteta's decision to hand Eddie Nketiah club legend Thierry Henry's iconic shirt number after confirming his new long-term contract on Saturday.
Nketiah was out of contract at the end of June but the 22-year-old’s performances towards the end of the season suggested Arteta was ready to keep him at the Emirates. And the England Under-21 international has now penned a five-year deal to continue his career with his boyhood club.
Upon announcing his new deal, Nketiah was given the privilege of wearing the same number as Gunners legend and their all-time top goalscorer Henry, who bagged 226 goals for the north London club. The No.14 shirt has also been worn since by Theo Walcott and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. But it had been left vacant when the Gabonese left in January to join Barcelona on a free transfer.
However, not all Arsenal fans are convinced by the decision to hand him the honour of succeeding the Frenchman, with a mixed response to the news regarding Arsenal’s new No.14. One Twitter user wrote: “We really wasting number 14 on him”, with two ‘thinking’ emojis for good measure.
Another agreed that Nketiah had big shoes to fill: “That 14 shirt is way too massive for Nketiah, might just made him lose his form.” And that point was popular as Twitter user agreed: “Henry is punching the air right now. Man put his whole life into that 14 shirt and now Nketiah has it.”
However, the reaction wasn’t all negative as some Arsenal fans leapt to his defence. Theo Samuels believes the change will benefit Arsenal and the striker. “Nketiah signing a new deal is a positive thing. I think he's worked hard,” he wrote. “Now that he's got the 14 shirt, he's gonna wanna make his own legacy at the club.”
HAVE YOUR SAY: Arsenal fans – do you think Eddie Nketiah has what it takes to succeed with the No.14 shirt? Comment below.
The Hale End graduate scored 10 goals in all competitions last term as he took on the central striking role from Alexandre Lacazette in the second half of the campaign. He scored five of those goals in 21 Premier League appearances, although only eight were from the start.
And his displays, including braces in wins over Chelsea and Leeds, convinced the club he can make the step up next season. There was interest from elsewhere in the Premier League, with Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Leeds all watching the highly-rated forward, but he has elected to remain with Arsenal.
He is expected to provide competition up front with Arsenal’s prospective new striker arriving, with Gabriel Jesus expected to seal a move from Manchester City in the summer transfer window. But with negotiations dragging on after a £30m offer was rejected, it remains possible Nketiah will leading the line when the season starts in August — and Arsenal fans will be hoping he can draw inspiration from Henry's heroics.
- Arsenal FC
- Premier League
- Mikel Arteta
Source: Read Full Article