Arsenal once had all their eggs in the Reiss Nelson basket, now they can’t decide how many eggs to put in it. But they better decide relatively soon.
Everything that Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have been this year to Arsenal is what Reiss Nelson used to be. All the hype in the world, all the belief, all the talent. All he needed was an opportunity, which is where the schism starts to divide the likes of Saka and Martinelli from Nelson.
it sounds cruel to say it, but it almost feels like Nelson’s opportunity passed him by. When Saka and Martinelli rose to the occasion and capitalized on the chance to make an immediate impact in the first team, they each did more than Nelson ever did. Even factoring in Nelson’s loan to Hoffenheim, which was relatively successful.
Now, the question is what Nelson has to do next. It’s no secret that Arsenal’s situation on the wings is pretty positive. Between Nicolas Pepe, Martinelli, and Saka, we’ve got the pieces in place to have goals coming in from wide angles for a long time to come.
And that doesn’t even include Aubameyang, who has become a bonafide left winger all over again.
So what does Nelson do? He’s sitting behind Pepe, but after seeing Saka play right wing, the likelihood of Nelson breaking through has again been knocked down a peg or two. He’s still making substitute appearances, but that doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough to keep Nelson interested.
That said, there is still plenty of belief that he could be something still yet, if only he gets the opportunity to prove it.
Which is where the difficulty comes into it. We’ve already got some incredibly talented young players out there, but Nelson is still young and talented too. But it doesn’t make sense to block other young players, who have already proven so much more, by a player who hasn’t proven nearly enough.
What’s ended up happening is a bit of half-arsery. Nelson isn’t getting enough of a chance to prove that he’s worth the investment, but he isn’t getting so little of a chance that he can be conclusively ruled out. We can’t drum up transfer value because he isn’t playing enough either.
What’s the solution? Well, you can keep riding out the half-arsing and see what happens or you can commit one way or the other and see what happens. But the half-arsing isn’t helping.