Reiss Nelson was one of a growing bunch of young English players to take a plunge by moving abroad for regular football when he joined Hoffenheim on loan for the 2018/19 season.
The 19-year-old had an excellent season in the Bundesliga, featuring in 23 matches and chipping in with seven goals. The youngster also played in five of Hoffenheim’s six Champions League fixtures, giving him a far greater exposure to first-team action than he would have had in the Premier League.
Following a successful campaign in Germany, Nelson will be returning to Arsenal hoping to show Unai Emery what he has learned in his season away and prove he can be a valuable first team asset at the Emirates.
If rumours are to be believed, Emery will only have a budget of around £40-50m to bring in new recruits this summer, which for a team in desperate need of improving is a pittance. The best thing about Neslon is that he adds quality to Arsenal’s team at no extra cost. The manager will no doubt be on the look out for bargain this summer, and hopefully he will not miss the one right under his nose.
The Gunners have been dealt a blow by the loss of Aaron Ramsey, who joins Juventus on a free at the beginning of next month. However, Nelson spent most of his time at Hoffenheim playing as an advanced midfielder, and could be the ideal replacement for the outgoing Welshman. While they have differing styles of play, the youngster has shown how effective he can be in fluid, one-touch attacking moves – something Ramsey was brilliant at in an Arsenal shirt.
The 19-year-old also has one thing that Ramsey never had – pace. The young Englishman has terrorised Bundesliga defences this season with his quick feet and ability to beat a man. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have both performed brilliantly this year, neither are renowned for blistering speed.
Bagging himself a goal for every 90 minutes of league football last season, Nelson is clearly a high-impact player and he rarely goes missing in games. A common trope of Gunners fans in years gone by is how predictable their defeats are. When coming up against a top six team, or a mid-table side away from home, most supporters will expect the worst – not because they’re pessimistic, but because it’s what they’ve become accustomed to.
However, with the creativity and unpredictability of the former Hoffenheim man, Arsenal fans will get the feeling that he could spring an attack at any point. He would bring belief back to the Emirates – belief that has been lacking for some time.