It would simply not make sense for Arsenal to do a Reiss Nelson loan
Before Bukayo Saka exploded onto the scene, it was widely believed that Elephant and Castle’s own Reiss Nelson was Arsenal‘s most exciting prospect. The 20-year-old was often mentioned alongside childhood friend Jadon Sancho as one of the promising talents in the country.
As a 17-year-old, his scintillating pre-season display against Benfica had fans – and Portuguese media – salivating. A prolific start to his Hoffenheim career also did little to temper expectations. However, injuries have plagued Nelson’s young career, and as such, have hindered his progress.
Nevertheless, allowing the 2017/18 PL2 Player of the Season to leave the club temporarily once more – as certain supporters have suggested – makes little numerical sense. With a strange and intense campaign upcoming, Arsenal cannot afford to lose too many attackers. Even with Willian’s arrival, they lack depth in that part of the pitch. This absence of forward options could allow Nelson to emerge as a starter.
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Provided that he stays (which seems likely at this juncture), Pierre Emerick-Aubamyeng is a guaranteed starter. He will probably play through the middle – and be deputised by Eddie Nketiah – if Alexandre Lacazette departs. Nicolas Pépé has made the right-wing position his own, but the opposite flank is most certainly up for grabs.
Although Nelson can play on both sides, video evidence indicates that he is more comfortable on the left. Willian is perhaps the only player standing between Nelson and a starting berth.
While Saka enjoyed his aforementioned breakout last season, there is some uncertainty as to where he will play moving forward. While many assume that he will become a staple on the left-wing, others believe that his future lies in central midfield. Furthermore, it is apparent that Gabriel Martinelli – who is currently sidelined with a long-term knee injury – is a centre-forward.
Mikel Arteta sees something special in Reiss Nelson. He started the Englishman in his first two games as head coach and could be seen lecturing him after the frustrating 1-1 draw away at Bournemouth. Nelson looked incredibly sharp in the FA Cup win against Portsmouth and the 3-2 triumph over Watford, but must now take the next step in his career.
Reiss Nelson has quick feet, an abundance of swagger, and frightening quickness. He will have plenty of opportunities to impress next season. Provided that he stays fit, he could enjoy a breakout campaign.