After years of mistakes in the transfer market it seems that Arsenal are finally learning.
Instead of opting for older players on big money contracts without an obvious way in which they would fit, this summer the Gunners opted for the clear strategy of solving the short comings in their squad by investing in youth.
Thus far it has paid dividends with Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard all playing their part in the side’s recent resurgence after a poor start to the seaosn.
There is, however, one error that they are still paying for.
Contract issues are nothing exactly new for Arsenal.
The Gunners have been caught napping when it comes to allowing the deals of high profile players like Robin van Persie, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Serge Gnabry to dwindle towards their expiry, meaning they have ended up losing them for far less than they are worth.
This cycle looks to be repeating itself in the case of Eddie Nketiah.
At the end of the of the 2019/20 season, the Hale Ender had two years remaining on his deal, but looked to be part of Mikel Arteta’s plans having featured heavily in the back half of the campaign and even coming on during the FA Cup final win over Chelsea.
Had Arsenal offered him an extension then it is probably safe to assume that he would have signed it.
As things stand though – barring a cut price move in January – it looks as though the 22-year-old will leave on a free in the summer.
This is catastrophic for the Gunners who, given that Nketiah is the England under-21 record goalscorer with decent Premier League experience, should be bringing in a fee closer to the kinds seen for Liverpool youngsters Rhian Brewster and Dominic Solanke in recent seasons.
In fairness to the club, they do appear to be learning from their mistakes.
Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe were tied down to new contracts over the summer as Edu exhibited a proactivity that has been absent at the Emirates for some time.
Reports suggest that the club intend to pursue this as a blanket policy when it comes to their younger talents to ensure that they are not forced to sanction as bigger a spend as we saw this summer.
It’s the kind of stuff that Chelsea have been praised for when it comes to selling youngsters like Marc Guehi and Tammy Abraham, and if Arsenal get it right it could be a spectacular source of revenue for them.
However, there is one young player with whom they may again have left it a little too late to extract the maximum potential value they have to offer.