Aston Villa is one of several clubs associated with Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah.
Premier League rivals Brentford and Leeds United, where the 22-year-old was on a five-month loan in the 2019-2020 season when they were still a championship club, are reportedly two named clubs plus Villa.
The former England U-21 international has only played 82 minutes of football for north London this season after sustaining an ankle injury in the pre-season against Chelsea.
This season began last month in the third round of the Carabao Cup against AFC Wimbledon, where he scored the third goal just before coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 win.
But despite that high-scoring return to the first team, he was not one of nine substitutes named for the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, with Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli preferred as forward options.
Dean Smith’s team only switched to a senior striker this summer with Danny Ings, who this season temporarily played in front with England international Ollie Watkins.
Behind, Keinan Davis is currently rehabilitating from an unspecified pre-season injury and is expected to return to first team picture this month, while Cameron Archer impressed in his absence when given the opportunity this season.
What’s the connection?
Journalist Ekrem Konur reports that Villa and her Premier League rivals Brentford and Leeds United are showing an interest in the player who left the contract at the end of the summer.
On his Twitter account, the Italian-based journalist says the player wants “regular first-team football and plans to leave Arsenal in January”.
He adds that Brentford, Leeds and Villa are “in line” [sic]“For the striker.
It is unlikely that Villa would make a move for Nketiah, who will turn 23 in May, but it is entirely plausible that they will be monitoring the situation of a player like him.
With Brad Young and Louie Barry on loan at Carlisle United and Ipswich Town respectively, and with Caleb Chukwuemeka recently signing with Villas Academy, these players are likely to be given a chance at first-team football before a player is picked up from another club.
What did his manager say?
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta praised Nketiah after the Wimbledon game and praised the striker for his professionalism.
“I think Eddie teaches us a lesson every day about how a professional should live in this job,” said Arteta.
“There was a lot of speculation and discussion around him, and he bows his head, trains harder than everyone else, takes care of himself and supports everyone in his team under all circumstances.
“‘I’m so happy for him. It’s no coincidence that he can perform at this level and how he physically copes with the game because he trains like the best every day, so I’m happy for him.”
What did the fans say?
Villa fans responded to the link on social media with a letter: “It’s Archer for me.”
“No thanks, did Leeds United help get promoted but didn’t play much, did he?” asked another.
A third fan asked, “Would we want him?” while another said, “He’s still years away from realizing his potential, but with the right manager and the right team he will do it.”
“Villa doesn’t want or need him,” said a fifth Villa supporter.