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Decision time for Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson

Decision time for Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson

Arsenal youngster Reiss Nelson is faced with a potentially career-defining period this summer, with the England U21 international nearing the end of his contract in north London.

As reported by CBS Sports’ James Benge, Nelson’s contract will come to completion the summer after the upcoming 2021-22 Premier League campaign. More importantly, the Gunners do not have an option to extend the deal for a further year.

Torrid time at Arsenal for Nelson

It has hardly been a period to remember for Nelson at his boyhood club. Coming into the youth fold in 2007 at the age of seven, the buzz around Nelson as he rose through the ranks at Arsenal’s Hale End academy was that the club had a real gem on their hands. But that promise shown at youth level has not translated to his full professional career at the Emirates.

Nelson made his full debut for the club back in 2017-18, racking up sixteen total appearances, including eight in the Europa League. He then embarked on a successful loan spell with Bundesliga outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim under the wing of Julian Nagelsmann in 2018-19, scoring 7-goals and appearing a combined 29-times across all competitions, albeit only from the start on five occasions.

Reiss Nelson

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 03: Joelinton of 1899 Hoffenheim celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal with Reiss Nelson of 1899 Hoffenheim during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at BayArena on November 3, 2018 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Since his return to Arsenal, the native of Elephant and Castle has featured just thirty-one times between 2019 and 2021, managing one goal in seventeen Premier League outings, with the bulk of his end product coming in the domestic cups.

Having turned down the chance to go on loan at the beginning of the 2020-21 season in favor of fighting for his place in the first team, Nelson failed to give boss Mikel Arteta a moment of pause. All told, the winger logged just 69-minutes of Premier League action across the entire campaign, but made four appearances in the Europa League while adding a goal and an assist in the process.

Interest from clubs to give Nelson a pathway for further development

There could be a lifeline for Nelson this summer, should he decide to turn down the contract extension left on the table by Arsenal. Rumored interest from Greek giants Olympiacos could offer a career path where not only would he be in with a real chance of being first-choice under Pedro Martins, but also guaranteed of exposure to European football, not on offer at Arsenal this coming season.

Nelson and the Gunners could also seek interest from smaller Premier League clubs, with Norwich coming to mind given their sale of influential right-winger Emiliano Buendia to Aston Villa, despite the impressive business done for Werder Bremen’s Kosovan international Milot Rashica.

Reported interest from multiple Bundesliga clubs has too been mentioned recently, so with Nelson’s development hardly being prioritized by the club – and Mikel Arteta apologetic regarding the paltry opportunities afforded to him – the best deal for both parties may be a permanent divorce. For a player that was once thought of as highly as Jadon Sancho, though, Reiss Nelson still has plenty of time left to make his mark.


This article was edited by Conor Laird.