Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has decided to keep Eddie Nketiah at the club rather than send the youngster away for a second loan spell of the season, according to reports.
Nketiah moved back to the Emirates earlier this month after he struggled to find regular game time during a spell at Leeds; the 20-year-old featured in 19 games in all competitions overall, but only started twice under Marcelo Bielsa.
Bielsa hit back when questioned over Nketiah’s lack of game time, insisting that regular appearances were never guaranteed for the 20-year-old at Elland Road.
Following the move back down south, reports suggested that both Championship and Premier League clubs were keen on signing Nketiah on loan, with Arteta said to be willing to negotiate with other teams.
Indeed, Bristol City are said to have been following the youngster although boss Lee Johnson revealed there were complications to his side’s efforts to sign him.
However, according to The Athletic, Arteta has been using recent training sessions to study Nketiah’s progress and has been left impressed with his attitude and work rate.
As such, it is claimed that Arteta now wants to keep him around at the Emirates with there potentially being several opportunities for the player to get game time with the Gunners.
Arsenal are into the last 32 of the Europa League, where Arteta is expected to rotate his team with the likes of 18-year-old Bukayo Saka featuring heavily under former boss Unai Emery.
What’s more, the FA Cup presents an opportunity for Nketiah to get minutes. Arsenal have a fourth-round tie away at Bournemouth and Arteta will likely focus on saving his best players for a push to climb up the Premier League table.
The Spanish boss’ side currently sit 10th, 11 points off top four.
Stones, who worked with Arteta at the Etihad, has struggled under Pep Guardiola this season and had been linked with a move to the Gunners.
Arteta, however, said: “No, no truth at all. John is a player that I really like and I followed. We signed him when I was at Manchester City and I worked with him for many years and know him well.
“When I look at centre backs he has many attributes that I like from one, but we’re not interested.”