Unai Emery is in the middle of a transfer story frenzy this summer with speculation whirling throughout Arsenal like a merry-go-round. First, the stories circulated of how little budget the Gunners boss at his disposal to recruit new players — some suggested it was as little as £35million, while others upgraded that figure to around £100million. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Then came the names — endless players who, it continues to be reported, are winging their way to the north London outfit from leagues all over the world, from China to Chad (ok, not Chad. But you get the general drift).
But until the news of full-backs, midfielders and wingers joining the club is confirmed by the Emirates powerbrokers, it is all stuff and nonsense. What can’t be questioned, on the other hand, is the imminent arrival of a young, speedy wideman who has the potential to set the Premier League alight in the red and white of Arsenal. No, it’s not a wonder kid from Brazil, rather he is already a young Gunner — and one said to have the world at his feet.
Reiss Nelson, who is aged 19, is ready to return to the club after a season-long loan at German outfit Hoffenheim. And he could be like a new signing for Emery as he ponders his next move in adding some pace and power to his squad.
The Gunners go in to the new season in a flat mood after failing to snare a Champions League place last season — they blew their remaining chance when they lost 4-1 to Chelsea in the Europa League final in May — but young Nelson could add some sparkle. He has stated that he is ready, willing and able to fight for the cause and that he has grown as a player and as a man thanks to his time in the Bundesliga — where he made 23 appearances and struck seven goals — and also with England U21s.
On how he has developed, Nelson said:
“People will be shocked, 100 per cent. I was 17 when Arsene Wenger gave me my first Premier League start for Arsenal against Southampton and I was very immature when I was playing.
Now I have a more mature role about me. I look to play link-up play, one v ones, and I think I am so much more mature. I not only developed as a player in Germany but also as a person. There were times when I wasn’t starting and I didn’t have a lot of people to talk to, just my family. It made me grow up as a person and on the pitch, it showed.”
Nelson adds that whenever he got game-time minutes, he knew he had to be ready to take opportunity that came his way. He added:
“I learned so much stuff at Hoffenheim and made a lot of friends. I also made good connections with the managers. They taught me a lot that I can take on in my career.
“Leaving was difficult, but Arsenal are my team and I want to go back to Arsenal and play. The boys at Hoffenheim threw me a leaving party, and that was nice. It was a very social club and the players used to go out together a lot. They presented me with a video and gave me a Nelson signed framed shirt as well. It was really nice.”
No doubt, the next shirt Nelson wants is his own at Arsenal…