The Arsenal academy graduate Reiss Nelson has had many false dawns since he was hailed as a rising young star in his youth, but it is now five years since his debut for the Gunners and in that time he has made a total of just 9 League starts, with the last one back in 2019/20.
But he had a good end of season on loan at Feyenoord last season, and Mikel Arteta decided to give him one more chance to prove his worth and kept Nelson at the Emirates in this campaign.
This is how Nelson described it during an interview with the Mirror: “I spoke with the boss before the start of the season and he was very clear with me. He said he’s seen a transition in my game and my attitude and just my whole profile as a player, which he really likes and he wants to bring that into the team and he thinks that can really benefit the team and there was no talks with me about leaving in the summer.”
Arsenal didn’t go as far as to give Nelson a new contract in the summer and now only has 9 months left before he is a free agent, but the 22 year-old finally got some minutes on the pitch when Saka went off injured against Forest, and after the game he admitted that he is desperate to impress the boss and persuade Arteta to give him a new contract. “I’ve never doubted myself at this football club,” he said. “Arsenal is a team that I’ve been at since I was eight years old and I have a very, very strong bond and love for the club. Of course, there’s been times where I’ve been a bit down when I haven’t played or been on the bench, but my plan has never been for me to leave the club or say that I have no future here and I will do everything possible to get there.
“I only have some months left on my contract but at this moment of time, getting a new deal, of course, that would be amazing and I would love to commit to the club. But I’m just really, really focused on doing everything I possible just to do the right stuff and if I get to play for the team to do well, of course, it’s hard coming in for 5-10 minutes and of course, I would love to play much, much longer.
“But any opportunity I get, I’m going to try and take and just do my very best and just keep helping the team really.”
There is no doubt that Nelson had a brilliant performance after coming on at the weekend, but the fact is that Arsenal fans will not accept that as normal until he performs consistently. Hopefully he’ll get another chance against Zurich on Thursday and we shall see what we will see….
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