Julian Nagelsmann has explained to the media why Hoffenheim signed Reiss Nelson on loan from Arsenal on Friday, after the 18-year-old agreed a contract extension with his parent club.
Nelson only had a year left on his Arsenal contract when this summer’s transfer window opened, and there was plenty of speculation about his future as a result. Thankfully he put that to bed this week, agreeing a new long-term deal before going on loan to Hoffenheim for the season.
Despite not being able to sign Nelson on a permanent basis, Hoffenheim coach Nagelsmann explained why he thinks this is still a good move for the Bundesliga club.
“We had to react to the fact that we lose many established regulars over a longer period of time,” he said. “As for a one-on-one player with pace, we did not have that much in the squad anymore, so signing one was my wish.
“Reiss is a player akin to Serge Gnabry, maybe not so well developed. He wanted to leave the club (Arsenal) to get more playtime. He can play four different positions, the ten, the eight, and both outside striker positions, and he has incredible speed to get behind the line.
“[Nelson] can do everything on the ball. He has not had the experience, but I love to develop players, even a player from another club.”
That all fits with what we’ve seen of Nelson so far. He’s a big talent with a lot to his game, but as Nagelsmann points out, there’s still room for development. Arsenal probably wasn’t the best place to learn this season, because fans are desperate to see results now, particularly in terms of getting back into the Champions League.
Some supporters on Twitter will try to convince you Nelson is already a better player than any of Arsenal’s first-team wide options, but those who watch him more regularly can see he still needs some time to reach that stage.
The winger’s goals, skills and pace are all great to watch, and with a year in Germany hopefully he’ll round out the other aspects of his game as well. Good luck to him!