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‘Arsenal won’t reach Champions League with Nketiah upfront’

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The English striker has recently signed a contract extension at Emirates.

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson has criticized the Gunners for relying on Eddie Nketiah as their sole striker.

The 23-year-old will wear Thierry Henry’s number 14 shirt after signing a contract extension at the club. 

The English star seemed to be leaving the club for most of the last campaign, rejecting several renewal offers. However, a string of impressive performances toward the end of the season persuaded him to stay at Emirates.

However, Merson believes Nketiah is still not reliable to spearhead Arsenal’s top-four push next season.

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“All Arsenal have got up front right now is Eddie Nketiah, who recently signed a new contract when it looked like he might leave,” Merson told the Daily Star.

“And no disrespect to Nketiah but Mikel Arteta must realize he won’t get you into the top four. Absolutely no chance. That’s a fact.

“Nketiah can’t be spearheading your Champions League push. He’s not getting in ahead of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison at Everton and they almost got relegated.

“He’s not getting in at Fulham ahead of Aleksandar Mitrovic and they’ve only just been promoted. I’m not having a go at him but he’s not getting you top four.”

Arsenal are close to sealing a £45m move for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian star will most likely become Arteta’s first-choice striker ahead of Nketiah next season.