Five years on and Reiss Nelson is still trying to break into the Arsenal first team

Reiss Nelson gets one more chance by Dan Smith

It was in 2017 that Arsene Wenger used the Europa League to blood graduates from our academy.

This included Joe Willock, Maitland Niles, Bukayo Saka and with the biggest reputation, Reiss Nelson.

Four years later Nelson’s career has gone full circle, with stops to Germany and Holland along the way, Nelson is still in need of UEFA’s secondary competition to prove he’s good enough to play for Arsenal.

In reality, he knows that only injury meant he didn’t depart in the summer. Like Niles he most likely would have been loaned out till his contract expired (another example of the club lying to us when they said talent would no longer be allowed to run down their deals.)

The 22-year-old had to deal with the issue that most young British players face, being hyped up and told how great they are before ever achieving anything.

We managed to cash in on Joe Willock before it became apparent, he was average at best, yet we probably regret not cashing in on Niles when clubs were willing to give us 20 million for him.

How many games will Reiss Nelson play to be able to prove to his manager he deserves a new deal?

Maybe the 5 remaining Europa ties, a League Cup tie.

It makes Bodo/Glimt one of the biggest games of his career. Due to injury forcing him to miss preseason, he might not be match fit yet, but Arteta has hinted he will get his opportunity.

It’s not about seeing if he has the talent to be better than a team from Norway.

It’s about seeing that personality, that character, that swagger.

Does he demand the ball? Does he express himself?

Does he play the safe ball?

Too often in an Arsenal shirt he played like someone grateful to be there, but not believing he belongs on that stage.

Away from that pressure, he did okay at Hoffenheim and Feyenoord.

It’s now or never.

My initial reaction is at 22 he can’t keep hiding behind the youth card. He’s at an age where he needs to be playing.

I don’t think that’s in North London, but it’s up to him to prove me wrong…

Dan Smith


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  1. a WELL CONSTRUTED PIECE WITH VALID POINTS. I take isse with Dan, when he claims thr club are “lying to us” though. I think that is arathe silly view and ignores thre realism neede to be able to change minds if things =do not go as you at one time ha dhoped Young players wit talent at say 17,or18 , are common But how many make the TOP GRADE , SAKA Wilshere(until his injuries prevented furthe rprogress , and Martinelli!? Noy too many I suggest and so a practical and realistic club and manager does what he considers best for thr club at each stage To claim that is “lying to us” is a wildly inaccurate slur and IMO, ought to be withdrawn.

    I point out that only a fool never alters their thinking in the light of changing situations.

    Some call that a U turn. I call it being practical and sensible. Oh yes, and MATURE TOO!

    1. Agree.
      It is his usual agenda trying to disrepute anything and everything to do with the manager, the manager and/or the owner.
      Who knows, why wasn’t loaned out this summer:
      Maybe he didn’t want to?
      Maybe no relevant clubs were interested?
      Maybe the clubs interested weren’t convincing in their promise to use and develop him?
      Maybe it was actually believed he deserved a chance now to prove himself here?
      All sorts of possibillities, yet Dan Smith chooses his usual anti-management angle.
      Maybe a decent fee couldn’t be agreed?

      1. Has usual a fan who can’t have anything negative said about his club
        Don’t think it’s outrageous to say Reiss Nelson is yet to prove himself
        Don’t get how that would be an attack on the manager ?

        1. It is your nonsense about being lied to, that is the problem.
          The club has changed it’s policy by not willingly allowing players to hold it ransom.
          But if a player doesn’t want to move or there are no clubs willing to pay, the club can’t move him on.

          I actually agree with your assesment of Nelssons ability as a player.

          1. Were we told that Ramsey would be last player to run downbcontract ? Yes
            Was that true ?
            Sorry it’s not what you want to hear but facts don’t care about your feelings

    2. No , we were promised after Ramsey no player would be allowed to run down their contract again .
      Did that happen ?
      If so that’s a lie

      1. “We can’t be in a situation where we’re allowing players to walk out of the door for free. That means we have to start making difficult decisions when they have two years left on their contracts. We’re either going to renew those contracts or were going to be selling them”.

        That was what Vinai Venkatesham, the clubs MD said. No mention of a promise.

        The club can try and sell a player who has only 2 years left on his contract, but that player can refuse to leave.

        1. So what difficult decisions were made ?
          Did Lacca walk out on a free ?
          Ozil , Mustafi , bellerain , etc all had contracts ripped up due to letting contracts run down

  2. Yes. Today’s game could be his last chance to show what he can do on the left wing, while Smith-Rowe is still injured

    I don’t think Martinelli will be fit throughout this season, so Nelson had better convince Arsenal not to sign a new LW

  3. He was very good in the youth league before he was introduced to the senior team. He used to take defenders on and score goals. I thought he was going to be the next big thing at the Emirates Stadium. But he bottled it completely when he was given opportunity. Saka is currently doing what I expected from Nelson in the senior team. I hope he takes this opportunity. At his age, it’s not late for him to take his chances.

  4. It feels like we’ve been waiting a long time for Nelson to fulfill his promise. Five years to be exact. But let’s remember he is only 22. One month older than Tavares and a year older than Matt Smith who are still seen as promising young players.

    That’s the underside of giving young players the profile at such a young age. A few will thrive (see Saka) but most will need a bit more time out of the spotlight to develop (see Gnabry) In seven years time when Nwaneri is 22 are we going to be saying his time is up?

  5. Nelson has not had his fair chance at ARSENAL. His progress was blocked/halted by fruitless investment in Willian and Pepe. And these were the club and Arteta’s mistakes, they have to must own up for it. Injuries and his training altercation with Arteta also made things worse. But with everything now sorted, we will see the real star Reiss Nelson, the world class we’ve all been waiting for.

    I bet on Nelson to surely give Saka and Martinelli a fight for their life and money this season. He will definitely proof all doubters wrong.

    Arsenal predicted XI
    4-3-3: Turner; Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Vieira, Lokonga, Xhaka; Marquinhos, Nketiah, Nelson

    Good lineup. So that Reulle Walters and Lino Sousa to sub Tomiyasu and Tierney at fullbacks. Also Matt Smith and Odegaard to sub Xhaka and Fabio in attacking midfield.

    Alternatively, Tomiyasu can move into CB meaning:
    4-3-3: Turner; Walters, Holding, Gabriel, Sousa; Vieira, Lokonga, Xhaka; Marquinhos, Nketiah, Nelson

    So that White, Tierney, Partey and Zinchenko can come in for Walters, Sousa, Xhaka and Fabio.

    This way we can have a near full rested first team to pick from to face Liverpool.

    Hoping to see a great game and a decent win tonight. COYG.

  6. What nelson are you talking about?if it’s the same one that plays for arsenal he’s just about call him world class is a blasphemy

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