The Arsenal striker is a long-term target for the Eagles, but Jones would be ‘surprised’ if they signed him before Monday’s deadline.
What’s the latest news involving Eddie Nketiah?
Speculation over Nketiah’s future has been rife during the final few days of the January window, in no small part due to the fact his contract with Arsenal will expire at the end of the season – making the next 48 hours the Gunners’ final opportunity to secure an agreed fee for their academy graduate.
Newcastle have been heavily linked with the 22-year-old, while Palace are said to have seen two bids for Nketiah rejected this month, having also come close to signing him in the summer – only for the move to collapse over wage demands.
Publicly, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has continued to insist that Nketiah won’t be sold this month.
It would admittedly be difficult for Arsenal to sanction any deal right now, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang potentially heading out on loan after being stripped of the club’s captaincy and Alexandre Lacazette’s contract also up at the end of the season.
If it wasn’t for the fact Arsenal still have half a season’s worth of football ahead of them, in which they’ll try to qualify for the Champions League, they’d probably want to offload all three strikers before the deadline.
That is likely why it’s proving so difficult to get Nketiah out of Arsenal despite rejecting a contract offer in December, but Palace have nonetheless attempted to reach an agreement before the deadline, with their second bid reported on Saturday.
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What has Dean Jones said about Nketiah and Palace?
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Jones has suggested Palace won’t be able to afford a deal to sign Nketiah this month.
He said to GMS: “I was told that Palace didn’t have the money for Nketiah. I don’t know if that’s changed, or if they’ve re-evaluated it. I was told Nketiah had proved too difficult for them to do first time around, and I haven’t heard anything in the last 48 hours to suggest that’s changed. So I would be surprised if Palace were going to sign him.”
Do Palace really need Nketiah?
It’s clear Eagles boss Patrick Vieira is a fan of Nketiah. Palace have tried to sign him on multiple occasions now, and the Arsenal legend even publicly described the young striker as a “good player” earlier this month.
Of course, it’s important to bring in players the manager feels he can work effectively with, but whether Nketiah actually adds much to Palace’s squad remains another matter.
The biggest gap in Palace’s squad right now is the absence of a dependable, talismanic goalscorer. None of their players have reached double figures in the Premier League this season, and midfielder Conor Gallagher in fact leads the scoring charts on seven.
That’s not to say Nketiah wouldn’t be a good signing for Palace, but he’s perhaps not an essential one right now. With his contract winding down, the south London side may be better off waiting until the summer to sign him on a free, rather than trying to agree a late deal with a club reluctant to do business.