Arsenal pair linked with exit find the net
Gunners step up their pre-season with a convincing win against Watford
29 July, 2021 — By Steve Barnett
IT was the strikers rumoured to be up for sale that did the business as Arsenal ran out convincing winners against Watford yesterday (Wednesday) at London Colney.
Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette both found the back of the net as the Gunners stepped up their pre-season with a 4-1 win behind closed doors.
With Mikel Arteta desperate to raise funds in order to continue his squad rebuild, Nketiah and Lacazette have both been tipped for the Emirates exit this summer.
However, with both players now entering the final 12 months of their contracts the transfer fees that Arsenal could demand have been severely impacted.
Atletico Madrid are said to be keeping tabs on Lacazette, especially with the Gunners reportedly willing to accept as little as £15million for the 30-year-old. Nketiah, meanwhile, is attracting interest from a host of teams in the Premier League and Bundesliga.
The 22-year-old is thought to be valued in the region of £20m, but that might be deemed optimistic for a player who will be available on a free next summer.
Putting the forwards in the shop window against Watford certainly didn’t do any harm.
Nketiah showed tremendous speed and accuracy as he raced towards goal, ducked inside his marker and rifled a low effort into the far corner to break the deadlock inside the opening 20 minutes.
The Hornets hit back before the break after Mohamed Elneny was caught in possession, allowing Philip Zinckernagel to level the scores.
On as a second-half substitute, Lacazette restored Arsenal’s advantage from the penalty spot after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was brought down in the box.
The Gunners were in complete control, and extended their lead when Emile Smith Rowe sent a ball across the face of goal to Kieran Tierney, who set himself before smashing a half-volley into the roof of the net.
And the afternoon got even sweeter when 18-year-old midfielder Miguel Azeez collected a short corner on the right-hand side of Watford’s penalty area, shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled a stunning strike into the top corner.
The victory was the perfect fillip ahead of Arsenal’s match against Chelsea at the Emirates on Sunday in the pre-season Mind Series.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are finally expected to confirm the signing of Ben White from Brighton & Hove Albion in the next 48 hours. It proved third time lucky for the Gunners, who had two bids for the 23-year-old defender turned down before finally agreeing a £50m fee.