Arsenal have decisions to make over a host of players and, while Kelechi Nwakali may not be the most high-profile of them, it is certainly time for the club to take a stance on the midfielder’s future.
It is almost three years since Nwakali joined Arsenal but, owing to work permit problems, the Nigeria youth international has yet to feature for the club, even in a friendly, and has only been involved in a few training sessions at London Colney.
The vast majority of Nwakali’s Arsenal career so far has been spent out on loan. He showed some encouraging signs at Maastricht but a subsequent spell at VVV-Venlo didn’t work out.
A return to Maastricht followed and he has spent this season with Porto’s B team, where matters certainly haven’t gone to plan.
Nwakali made 16 appearances for Porto B but failed to score or provide an assist, while he wasn’t involved at all in the closing stages of the season having been left stranded in Nigeria because of a visa issue.
All things considered, it seems highly unlikely that Porto will exercise their option to buy Nwakali, which they negotiated when they brought him in on loan last year.
That leaves Arsenal with a decision to make on the future of a player who turns 21 next week and has just over two years remaining on his contract.
Although he is impressive technically and arrived with an excellent reputation, there has been little to suggest from Nwakali’s recent performances on loan that he would be able to make a major impact in English football, while it isn’t guaranteed that he would receive a work permit in any case.
Another loan also wouldn’t be of much use as if Nwakali was to struggle again then Arsenal’s chances of selling him next year would dwindle further.
It seems, then, that the best option for Arsenal is to sell Nwakali and give him the chance to kick-start his career elsewhere.