Mikel Arteta made a desperate transfer plea to Eddie Nketiah after his hat-trick for Arsenal against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup.
Nketiah’s first Gunners treble helped them progress to the semi-finals of the competition. The 22-year-old striker looks destined to leave the Emirates, though, with cup games the only time he’s offered minutes.
Despite not using him in the Premier League, Arteta is eager for Nketiah to sign a new deal past next summer.
Speaking after the 5-1 win, the Spanish manager said: “As a club and me personally I really want him to stay here and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“I tell you every day that we want to keep Eddie. We see how he trains, that’s what he does every day, he works so hard and puts the ball in the net every session.
“I am really delighted with him. Every time we have needed him he has always responded.
“His only thing is that he wants more minutes. That’s his desire.
“He wants game time, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say can I do it here? That’s the question. We all want him to stay.”
Nketiah’s hat-trick was somewhat overshadowed by a debut goal for highly-regarded teenager Charlie Patino, who Arteta labelled “special” in his post-match press conference.
Arsenal looking at Aubameyang replacements
The Gunners are looking to shift their former captain after everything that's happened recently.
“He’s a player that has a lot of personality,” he said. “I’m delighted for him because he’s a kid that we like so much.
“To have his debut and score like that is something special.”
On the overall performance, Arteta continued: “Very good – we are through to the semi-final which is what we wanted.
“We decided to rotate quite a lot today and it took some time in the first half to get that cohesion. We scored two good goals but after that we lacked something, though we got more control in the second half and scored some beautiful goals as well.”
Nketiah vague on Arsenal future
Nketiah, meanwhile, said he is also desperate, but he just wants to play football regardless of who it is for.
He told Sky Sports: “Great feeling. I want to say big thanks to my team-mates for some really good assists. I just had to be in the right place.
“We could have played a lot better in the first half but we improved in the second half and more goals came. It was a great team display.
“This competition is the place I’ve been getting starts. I’ll do my best whenever I’m asked to play. I’m desperate to play football. All I can do is keep working hard. It’ll sort itself out.
“Hopefully we can go all the way. I’m just eager to play football. That’s my main ambition. As long as I play for Arsenal I’ll give my all.”