Reiss Nelson is ‘integral’ to Julian Nagelsmann’s plans at Hoffenheim, according to reports in the German media.
Get Germany Football News report that Nelson is likely to directly fill the gap in the Hoffenheim team left by another Arsenal academy product, Serge Gnabry.
Gnabry spent the 2017/18 season on loan with the Bundesliga club, and played an important part in their season. Particularly in front of goal, as he scored 10 times in 22 league games.
Like Gnabry, Nelson is a dangerous wide forward with goals in him. The 18-year-old hasn’t got his first goal at senior level just yet, although he did grab a few for Arsenal in pre-season. For the academy he’s proven to be prolific, with nine goals and three assists in just 11 appearances last season.
Nagelsmann said of the youngster: “He’s versatile and can bring an injection of pace into the game.”
That’s certainly true, as Nelson switched between wing back, right wing, left wing and attacking midfield last season. He looks best on the left, where he can cut inside to shoot, or push the ball past the defender to get to the byline and find a teammate in the middle.
That ability to take defenders on and get crosses in makes him a useful asset on the other side as well though.
The important thing is that Nelson plays. Gnabry went on loan from Arsenal to West Brom in 2015/16 and made three appearances in half a year. He came back even more frustrated at his lack of game time than when he left, and sulked his way to an exit.
Fortunately, Nelson signed a new contract before leaving, so an immediate departure isn’t so much of a concern. It would still be disappointing to see him waste a year of potential first-team football though.
We’ll get a first look at Nagelsmann’s plans for the forward when Hoffenheim face Dusseldorf at 14:30 on Saturday 15th September.