Arsenal may have already found their Nicolas Pepe replacement for next season - TBR View
Arsenal’s Hale End graduates Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah have been flourishing at the Emirates in recent weeks, but there’s another one who’s impressing too – Reiss Nelson.
The 22-year-old joined the Gunners when he was just nine years old. He came through the ranks at the Arsenal academy and made his debut under Arsene Wenger in the 2017-18 season.
He spent the following campaign out on loan in Germany at Hoffenheim and really impressed there. Once the Englishman returned, many expected him to kick on and compete for a spot in the first team, but he never quite managed to become a regular.
Mikel Arteta sent Nelson out on loan to Feyenoord last summer, and he had a tough start. However, since the start of March, the Arsenal man has been showing the world why he was so highly rated.
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Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson is shining on loan
Nelson really struggled at Feyenoord in the first half of the season. He had a few injury niggles, didn’t quite start enough games and even when he played, he just couldn’t have an impact. However, since the start of March, he has found himself in the starting eleven more often than not, and that has helped him become a really dangerous player.
In Feyenoord’s last three Eredivisie games, Nelson has directly been involved in six goals – four assists and two goals. In the Europa Conference League, he has two goals and three assists in his last five appearances, which is really impressive as well.
The biggest change for Nelson is the fact that he has consistently been given an opportunity to play on the right-wing. That wasn’t always the case earlier in the season; he was constantly asked to switch roles.
Nelson will return to Arsenal at the end of this season and his performances on the right flank could well convince the Gunners boss to keep hold of him – potentially in place of Nicolas Pepe.
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Nelson could replace Nicolas Pepe next season
An academy graduate who has barely played at the top level replacing a player who cost the Gunners a club-record £72 million really does sound crazy, but hear us out.
Arsenal’s right flank is sorted for the next decade. Unless Mikel Arteta manages to sign Lionel Messi, nobody is taking Bukayo Saka’s spot in the Gunners squad, which eliminates the need for a first-choice right-winger.
Pepe is definitely more established than young Reiss Nelson, but he has barely played for Arsenal this season. He is expected by many to be sold in the summer, and instead of investing heavily on a second-choice right-winger, Arteta may as well give Nelson a go.
The Englishman knows Arsenal very well, is quick, good on the ball, can create chances and score goals. He’s still only 22 as well, which means he’ll only get better in the coming years.
Nelson is definitely not the big-name Arsenal fans will be looking for, but as a backup winger, he’s more than capable of doing a job for the Gunners next season.
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