Is Brighton and Crystal Palace January target Eddie Nketiah a £20m risk or a thrilling final piece in Graham Potter's masterplan?

Brighton and Hove Albion are said to be keeping a close eye on the transfer developments of Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah
Eddie Nketiah has been heavily linked with a move away from the Gunners this January windowEddie Nketiah has been heavily linked with a move away from the Gunners this January window
Eddie Nketiah has been heavily linked with a move away from the Gunners this January window

Nketiah, 22, is out of contract with the Gunners this summer and this January transfer window could be their final chance to receive a fee for the player who is eager for top-flight game time.

Brighton have been light in the striking department this season and only Wolves, Burnley and Norwich have scored fewer goals in the Premier League this season.

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Albion's old rivals Crystal Palace are also in the hunt and Patrick Vieira is keen to raid his former club and add to his attacking options at Selhurst Park.

Nketiah, who is also wanted by Bayer Leverkusen, has struggled to force his way into Mikel Arteta's Premier League plans and despite the uncertainty surrounding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nketiah is tipped to depart.

Brighton were interested in the prolific England under-21 international last summer and are said to be keen on a deal this January.

The club could however wait until summer if a deal cannot be arranged for this window.

Final piece or too risky?

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Brighton are going well in the league this season and are ninth in the table despite a shortage of goals. Neal Maupay is the leading scorer with seven, experienced but injury-hit Danny Welbeck has two, while attacking midfielder Leo Trossard has four and Alexis Mac Allister three.

Much of the attacking responsibility falls on the feisty shoulders of Maupay. The French striker has been harshly criticised by fans this season but always gives his all for the team. He has also netted some fine last gasp strikes to earn Albion points at Crystal Palace, West Ham and Southampton.

His goal against his former club Brentford also showed a clinical edge to his game. Maupay however could do with some regular back-up.

Welbeck remains a classy act when Albion can get him on the pitch and Potter is convinced his latest hamstring surgery was a success and a strong end to the season for the former Man United attacker could see Albion maintain their lofty position. His late header against Chelsea proves he can still deliver in the key moments.

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But Welbeck is for the here and now and Albion do need to sharpen their attack for the next few seasons. Nketiah is an instinctive finisher and having him at the tip of Brighton's attack to finish off the clever approach play is a tantalising prospect.

Nketiah fits Albion's transfer profile too. Young and hungry to prove himself at the highest level. Playing for a team that creates chances could be appealing for the former Leeds loanee who has netted 16 times in 17 appearances for the England under-21s.

Recently Albion have offered the likes of Tariq Lamptey, Leo Trossard, Neal Maupay, Rob Sanchez, Jakub Moder and Alexis Mac Allister opportunities to impress. All have improved under Potter and it would not be too far of a stretch to see Nketiah do the same at the Amex.

Nketiah's talent is clear but he remains unproven and scoring plenty of goals for Arsenal in the Carabao and the England under-21s is not the same as the Premier League.

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A couple of windows ago Liverpool's Rhian Brewster was tipped as the next sure thing and Brighton were rumoured to be jostling with Sheffield United for the £23.5m former Liverpool man.

Sheffield United won that race and Brewster scored zero goals in 30 appearances as United were relegated that season. This campaign, in the Championship, Brewster has three from 12.

Brighton, at some point very soon, do need to back Potter and deliver a striker for his inventive and entertaining team that he has created before they lose their head coach to one of football's elite.

Whether that's Nketiah for this transfer window and whether they can match the wage demands remains to be seen.