Arsenal young wide man Reiss Nelson has joined German outfit, Hoffenheim on loan for the rest of the 2018-19 season.
The 18-year-old will join his mate Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga. Sancho who was in a similar situation at Manchester City decided to run down his contract and sign for Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer. Since his move Sancho has lit up German football and established himself in the Dortmund first team. Nelson and Sancho are friends away from the pitch and it’s been in the back of Arsenal fans minds that the talented winger would follow suit and leave the Gunners for free.
However, the difference is that Nelson signed his new Arsenal deal today keeping at the club until 2023 which is a big boost for the club. The game of football predictions is a tricky one, many assumed that Nelson would be seeking pastures new.
Hoffenheim are in the same Champions League group as Manchester City this season and will be a great platform to show what he can do at the highest level even if he has given up almost guaranteed chances of playing a lot of Europa League minutes this season.
Arsenal Manager Unai Emery spoke to the press ahead of the Cardiff City match on Sunday said:
“We think he needs to go because he is very young, he needs minutes and the experience.
“We decided together it is a good chance for him, to get the minutes and then come back to us.
“I think he’s signing a new contract with us.”
It’s not quite certain what the future holds for Nelson even if he has commited for a further 5 years. Unai Emery does not play with traditional wingers and has not done so for a while now.
The width usually comes from the full back areas, funnily enough, a position that Nelson played regularly under former manager Arsene Wenger, as he filled in for Bellerin during Arsenal’s Europa league campaign last season. Whether or not that is where Emery sees Nelson longer term remains to be seen.
Luckily for Nelson, he has some flexibility about his game. At youth level, he has played off the front man and in the number 10 position, positions that are occupied by the likes of Özil, Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi so not all is lost for him if he remains at the club. However he would have to hit the ground running, force his way into the starting line up at Hoffenheim and produce end product in terms of both assists and goals. Similarly to what Sancho has done at Dortmund.
Reiss Nelson made himself an instant crowd favourite during pre season last season, demonstrating his impressive quick feet. Here is hoping that he can lift the crowd at Hoffenheim just as he has with the Arsenal faithful.