Arsenal should recall Reiss Nelson in January to replace Danny Welbeck
According to a recent report from the Daily Star, Arsenal manager Unai Emery hasn’t ruled out a possibility of recalling 18-year-old Reiss Nelson from his loan spell to replace the injured Danny Welbeck.
Welbeck suffered a broken ankle in the UEFA Europa League as Arsenal progressed to the knockout stages with a 0-0 draw against Sporting Lisbon. He is likely to be on the sidelines for a large chunk of the season to nurse his injury.
Nelson made his senior debut for Arsenal last season under Arsene Wenger in the Community Shield game against Chelsea and made his bow in the Premier League a few days after. He made a total of 16 appearances for Arsenal last season, most of which came from the bench in the Europa League.
The 18-year-old was loaned out to Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim at the start of the season and has proved his worth in the German top flight, scoring 6 goals from 9 appearances. His brace in Hoffenheim’s 3-1 victory over Nuernberg in the Bundesliga has been the highlight of his stellar start to the season, with his superb curling effort from an almost impossible angle being one of the best goals of the league so far.
Standing at 5ft. 8 inches, Nelson is a technically-gifted and tactically versatile attacker who is capable of playing as a wide forward or a winger on the left and also as a centre-forward. A fleet-footed player blessed with exceptional close control, Nelson’s main strength lies in one-on-one situations where is he very much capable of beating his defensive counterparts with his sudden burst of pace and trickery.
Subtle flicks, deft touches, clever changes of direction, lightning pace, silky dribbling skills and instant acceleration- these are the attributes that make Nelson a dangerous player in the final third. Besides honing these attributes even more in the Bundesliga this season, the 18-year-old has shown significant improvement in terms of finishing, hold-up play and positional awareness.
The Arsenal academy product is also a good passer of the ball and has the ability to pick out the right pass at the right moment to build-up attacks from deeper areas.
To put things into perspective, Arsenal should not hesitate to recall their teenage academy sensation from his loan spell to replace Danny Welbeck. The 18-year-old has taken significant steps towards becoming a finished product and he is capable of playing a substantial role in the squad.
Nelson will probably be Arsenal’s third-choice striker behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette but Emery can also deploy him on either flank in his 4-2-3-1 formation. He is the kind of an off-the-bench impact player that Arsenal need to turn games on their head. The 18-year-old certainly has the pace and the trickery to bully the opposition and his end-product is also better than most of the young players in the same mould.
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Arsenal will need depth in their squad to do well at all fronts and Emery will need to rotate his players to keep them in good shape amidst the long and tiring schedule. With academy products like Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe making a name for themselves in the Europa League this season, Nelson deserves a fair crack of the whip to prove his worth.