Arsenal do seem to have a raft of very talented youngsters knocking on the door of Unai Emery’s first team, but when all our seniors are fit they are only going to get the occasional game in the League Cup or the Europa League, although as we go further in those competitions we won’t see so many youngsters. We have already had some impressive performances from players like Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, but is it now time to consider sending them out on loan to see if they can emulate Reiss Nelson’s exploits in the Bundesliga?
Our new Youth coach Per Mertesacker is more than pleased with Nelson’s progress, but is not sure if it would work for everyone. “It was the best decision for him to go there,” Mertesacker said on Arsenal.com. “When you compare the Bundesliga to the Premier League, there are similarities but there are differences.
“At the moment the Bundesliga suits him, and he went to a club where they are used to bringing up young players, educating young players and giving young players a chance in their first team. He has a young coach who will educate him and give him an insight.
“So the loan system should work brilliantly for us. Some Bundesliga clubs are very interesting for us and the way he could make an impact at Hoffenheim was by starting on the bench but then scoring immediately. Through scoring those goals, he gained trust from the coach, from the fans, by learning some German and earning the right to start and make an impact.
“I think he has done a brilliant job but that all fell into place because he wanted to go. He had a great opportunity but you need to take these opportunities and make sure you learn from those moments. Instead of being a first-team player between the under-23s and the first team, this is something different.
“It’s difficult to manage and I’m really pleased and glad that it’s worked right now for him. We have other prospects we really need to think about. What’s their best path towards making an impact for our first team? There are different ways, different challenges.
“Those are individuals. But I feel we are in a good place right now and those situations show us how big an impact a loan can make on a player. We need to select wisely.”
I agree that Arsenal should be careful, but considering how Reiss Nelson has blossomed at Hoffenheim, do we think that we should send more of our most promising youngsters away to gain more first team experience? Or keep them here to develop but only having minimal match-time in Cup games? Which of our most promising reserves do you think should be allowed to follow Nelson to the Bundesliga?