Have Arsenal wasted a year in Reiss Nelson’s development?

Willian signing impeded Nelson’s development as an Arsenal player

Willian looks set to be the second departure from the Emirates Stadium this season, after it was confirmed that Arsenal would not be extending David Luiz’s contract.

Willian’s departure would put an end to a marriage that clearly wasn’t working. Edu and Mikel Arteta would have been the first ones to agree to it.

The Brazilian has looked lackluster for the majority of his Arsenal career. When Mikel Arteta was nervously trying to put a key to start Arsenal’s engine at the beginning of the campaign, Willian was certainly the wrong key.

But the Spaniard was reluctant to replace him with either Nicolas Pepe or Reiss Nelson.

However, Pepe got his due opportunities as the season went on.

But Reiss Nelson’s development came to an abrupt halt. And one of the major reasons for it was the signing of Willian.

When Arsenal needed a spark in their Premier League campaign, Nelson, who was given a handful of games, hardly provided it.

But he was no worse than Willian, who looked awfully uninspiring and out of his depths.

The 21-year-old winger has just two appearances in the league, with a further seven coming in Europa League group stages, EFL, FA Cup and Community Shield.

He was never given a long stretch of games, and thus it looks highly likely that he will follow suit, to leave the Gunners in the upcoming shop window.

Arsenal fans can only imagine how better things would have been if they had not signed the former Chelsea man.

Even if Reiss Nelson had not played well in those games (in which Willian started), his market value would have been far more than what it is currently.

Regret among fans and maybe even the Arsenal board would definitely be more than the impact Willian has made in his Arsenal career so far.

If the Red and Whites do end up convincing Nelson to stay, it will be a smart move, but a move that came a bit late.

One year in a player’s development is massive especially when the player is already in his early 20s. And the club has only themselves to be blamed for the current situation.

Arsenal have been a club that has acted re-actively rather than pro-actively for several years. And that’s frustrating for Arsenal fans.

The North London side reportedly offered Shkodran Mustafi a contract extension in October last year, only for him to reject it.

It should not be a case of the player rejecting the club. But vice versa. The club should be telling those players that you should leave the club.

They have been very soft at boardroom level and that needs to change. Remember when Arsenal rejected a 60 million bid from Manchester City for Alexis Sanchez, only for him to leave on a free?

They have made considerable investment in Mesut Ozil, Lucas Perez, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Sokratis, only for them to leave for nothing.

This is a club which needs to be smart if it wants to be ‘sustainable.’

Yash Bisht

Tags Nelson Pepe Willian


  1. Nelson has himself to blame. He refused to go out on loan this season and was poor. He has shown over the last few seasons he can’t step up to premier league quality

  2. Nelson is not enough for Arsenal.As a matter of fact he is weaker than AMN who’s for sale.Sell him without regret,he’s at WBA level the most.

  3. What did Willian do this season that Nelson could not have at least equalled?
    and the fanbase would have been just a touch more lenient with Nelson, and given him time. Willian was never going to get this time snd why would he expect it anyway? He had EPL experience with Chavski and should have made a difference from the start. He didn’t and never really got going. A poor decision to sign a player who was never going to get a game at Chavski yet Arteta seemed paranoid that he just had to get him to the club. Willian deprived Nelson of valuable game time and experience do the answer is – Yes. A poor buy

  4. Would love to see Nelson given more opportunities next season !
    Decent prospect , home grown , needs a bit of time to develop but potential is there for sure

    1. We have wasted a whole year of potential development for players like Nelson and Azeez. Out of any year, this season should have been the one to get them the experience they needed. The season was a “throw away so it was perfect.

      Now we sit in the worst position we’ve been in for decades heaping so much pressure on the youngsters. With us rumoured to be bringing in quite a few players and not being in European competition I wouldn’t be surprised if they barely get a run.

      Horrific management again!

  5. I don’t understand why Arteta gave him so much pitch time, if he was going to get rid of him – it must have been obvious after a certain time that he wasn’t going to replicate his Chelsea form, but other more capable players were frozen out in favour of Willian. His last game was better though, not only the goal, but there was more movement and passing than all season, apart from Fulham, but tbh that’s what I would be expected from him every game.

  6. Yes Arsenal wasted half a year for Nelson, he should have went on loan in January.

  7. According to Charles Watts, he had loan offers in January but decided to stay and fight for a place.

  8. Arteta cannot and does not have the ability to discern the potential of players. He has a plan and players have to adapt to that way of playing even if it means crushing their potential and stopping their development.
    Absolute contrary to Wenger. And we are stuck with Arteta till he is fired.

    1. True, Wenger got the best out of individuals, but forgot that football is a team sport, hence the very long regression.

      1. We’ll Wenger made more than his share of mistakes there. Gnabry is the most obvious one that got away but in terms of the ones he did play, I think wilshere, denilson, Bellerin and Walcott were mishandled badly. All of them had potential but never really made the most of it for all different reasons. Alex Song was another who wasn’t handled properly and we lost Flamini after he proved himself to be a top CM after giving him too few opportunities for a number of years.
        Then there’s sczcesny and lord bendtner, who could have been handled differently I suppose, but they were difficult characters.

        1. “very soft at boardroom level” ? The word “incompetent” is more appropriate to describe the financial and player asset management at this Club.

  9. I think Nelson should be given a chance. Neither Pepe or Willian have lived up to expectations.

  10. Arteta has made a host of mistakes in this unique season, but his almost complete disregard for a talented young ,natural right winger, is his biggest error of judgement when viewed along side the minimal contributions of Willian.If I were Nelson I would move on from Arsenal asap. as he will probably be successful elsewhere.

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