Reiss Nelson appears to have a fan in new Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard selected the youngster to start in his first game as Gunners gaffer – an away trip to Bournemouth – although he didn’t exactly repay the faith as he finished the match with no shots on target and just one key pass to his name.
Nonetheless, Arteta was quick to put his arm around the 20-year-old after the final whistle blew on a 1-1 draw at the Vitality Stadium, much to the delight of Arsenal fans – with one deeming it an “incredible gesture”.
Incredible gesture by Arteta to put his arm around Nelson and give him words of encouragement. Stay patient Gooners, good times ahead. pic.twitter.com/zVOCyjZUFw
— AB (@abhiz30) December 26, 2019
Indeed, Gunners fans were quick to praise their new manager as he sought to give Nelson encouragement and advice. One described his role as “being like a brother”, while others dubbed Arteta a “class act” and gave his man management a thumbs-up emoji.
Being like a brother exactly arteta’s role
— mhd nazim (@mhdnazim05) December 26, 2019
Love this man!❤️ Give some wise advice to the youngster after the game so he can got his confident on the next match. Class act
— bagus kurnia (@bguskrnia) December 26, 2019
My manager omgg❤
— Fortunegold (@FortuneGold1) December 26, 2019
Can you name all of these obscure Arsenal signings? Give it a go now!
— Bodz (@BuddyAFC) December 26, 2019
— sid (@sid78046922) December 26, 2019
And having seen Pep Guardiola give Raheem Sterling similar treatment at Manchester City, including after subbing the England international off during a clash with West Brom in 2018, many Arsenal fans have gone on to draw comparisons between Nelson and the Citizens star.
This is like watching Pep and sterling after every match
— DH-Arsenal (@DaveHartArsenal) December 26, 2019
I think Arteta sees a bit of Sterling about Nelson
— ☞ ☜ (@Yo_Pierre10) December 26, 2019
New Sterling incoming
— HARBY (@its_Harbyourdun) December 26, 2019
Nelson is the next Raheem…
— DAVID OMOOBA (@dayveedomooba) December 26, 2019
— vijay siddharth (@indiangooner21) December 26, 2019
Perhaps this is just wishful thinking more than anything else. After all, Sterling has gone on to amass an incredible 76 goals and 61 assists in 170 appearances under Guardiola, whereas Nelson has only ever scored once for the Gunners – although he did net seven times on loan at Hoffenheim.
But the early signs suggest Nelson is a player Arteta wants to nurture, and if he can use the lessons learned from being Guardiola’s assistant to make him half the player Sterling is, Arsenal will end up with a talented forward on their hands.