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Will Arsenal benefit from Reiss Nelson’s Hoffenheim loan?


Unai Emery has been unpredictable since his arrival at Arsenal – starting from the transfers and ending with his game plan every week. We are yet to see if there is a permanent improvement in the team’s performance but there sure are things he has done for the better.

One of his most successful moves might turn out to be letting t19-year-old Reiss Nelson go out on loan to Germany. At Hoffenheim, a team with a young and ambitious coach and quite a few talented players, Nelson has had the chance to develop and shine.

Despite the lack of regular playing time, his spell in Germany has been crucial for his career development. He has been  able to improve and back up his undeniable talent with some incredible performances throughout the season.

But will Arsenal actually benefit from his stay there or they are threatened by him leaving?

What makes the difference

His speed and intelligence have been of help to Nagelsmann’s side on a few occasions. The impact he has on the team when coming off the bench and the connection he has built with his new teammates prove how versatile he is.

He has contributed in 24 games for Hoffenheim in all competitions but yet the average playing time he has had is around 30 minutes per game. Scoring six goals in his first seven appearances made him a highly valued part of the manager’s plan in the finishing stages of the games.

The youngster still struggles at times and isn’t always delivering on his potential but he still contributes with his effective off the ball movement and football vision which still help the team as they build up the attack.

Gaining more experience on field hasn’t been the only benefit from loaning him abroad. Despite his young age, he has matured lending to his professional development, which will play a huge part once he returns to the Emirates.

In the last few years, Arsenal has been struggling because of the lack of strong leading figures on the pitch. And having one of their own, mixing great talent with discipline and strong character, would definitely be important for the team’s future plans.

The proof of that statement is the latest news around the player. He was recently dropped from the squad for a recent match against Nurnberg, which raised a lot of questions. Not only among the Hoffenheim fans but also among the Arsenal supporters. Was he injured? Was the manager unsatisfied with his performance?

Well, none of was down to his performance. The player himself explained what happened:

 “I was 20 minutes late to training, and that’s something I need to learn from. You can make mistakes but it’s your job and you shouldn’t be late. I held my hand up and I said sorry to him and we both moved on as bigger men. He put me in the squad the next week because I’d been doing well.”

Taking responsibility for your actions and working twice as hard afterwards is a good sign for a 19-year-old.

Performing on the highest level

When it comes to his playing style, he could be the missing piece of Arsenal’s puzzle. Being such a versatile player with strong decision-making is something much needed for the Gunners.

Nelson is being used in different positions and in different competitions by Nagelsmann which makes sustaining a high level of performance when he does play even more impressive.

Here are some of his best actions which are showing how useful he could be for his team:

He patiently waits on the same line as the defenders. Whilst the actions are focused in the centre of the pitch, he uses the created spaces and positions himself so he can eventually receive the ball.

He then reaches the edge of the box and crosses. These one-on-ones with his markers are his favourites as he has strong decision making when under pressure.

His pace helps him win his attacking and pressing duels. He is always oriented near the box and loves to create chances for his teammates. Here, he uses his speed to escape the opposition pressing duels.

He then manages to send a perfectly measured cross despite being man-marked by two players – yet more proof of his decision-making and calmness on the ball.

The Englishmen has strong decision-making, great dribbling and intelligent positioning so he can help his team in the build-up of an attack or during the defensive transition. Probably the best positioning for him is as a right-winger, where he creates great opportunities deep in opposition territory. He is exceptional in one-on-one situations, which would be extremely useful for the Londoners as they often fail against teams that defend deep.


Arsenal definitely need to find a secure spot for Reiss Nelson next season. Especially having in mind the team’s current right-wing situation. His skills and performance could be extremely complimentary to Lacazette’s and Aubameyang’s forward ventures. He also could switch the flanks and drop deeper if needed which might fit Emery’s style of play perfectly. Gaining the needed experience in the Bundesliga and being part of England‘s squad is a huge step into turning him into one of Arsenal’s future stars.



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