Arsenal are a side who have reaped the benefits of possessing an impressive academy set up in recent years, with the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka having all graduated from the Gunners’ youth ranks before establishing themselves as regulars in Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad.
However, arguably one of the club’s most talented academy prospects in recent memory, Reiss Nelson, is yet to fulfil his undoubted potential at The Emirates. And, with a matter of months remaining on his current contract in north London, time is running out for the 22-year-old to prove he has what it takes to make it at the club.
Indeed, former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, previously stated his belief that Nelson “has shown that he can dribble, go past people and he isn’t fazed by the occasion,” while legendary Gunners centre-back Martin Keown claimed that the winger “showed the sort of touches you often see or associate with a Neymar or a real top player.”
There has been evidence of these claims on the pitch, with the £5.85m-rated talent having impressed during a loan spell at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim back in 2018/19, scoring seven goals and registering one assist over his 23 Bundesliga appearances, with Julian Nagelsmann going as far as to compare the attacker to another of Arsenal’s former academy graduates, Serge Gnabry.
Regarding Nelson, the former Hoffenheim manager said: “Reiss is a player whose qualities can be compared to those of Serge Gnabry, but just not so well developed.”
And, considering the fact that Gnabry now boasts a market valuation of £72m – having scored 67 goals and registered 43 assists over 182 appearances for Bayern Munich – just eight years after he left Arsenal for a measly £4.5m, it would appear extremely wise for the Gunners to learn their lesson from the 27-year-old’s rise and hand Nelson one more chance to impress before the end of his current deal.
Indeed, it is undeniable that the academy prospect possesses the potential to be a massive success in the professional game, perhaps even going on to match the level of the Germany international, but whether or not this development occurs at The Emirates looks to solely depend on whether or not Arteta affords the £15k-per-week starlet a final opportunity in an Arsenal shirt.