Back at the start of the campaign in August, Dutch outfit Feyenoord completed the signing of Reiss Nelson on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal.
In moving to the Netherlands, the 22-year-old had a great chance prove to Mikel Arteta why he should be playing for the Gunners on a regular basis, after he made just one Premier League appearance last season.
Unfortunately, it has been a difficult campaign for the Hale End academy product failing to get the starts in Arne Slot’s side that he desperately craved, and also failing to impress when he did feature off the bench.
In fact, before the turn of the year he hadn’t played a full 90 minutes for the Dutch giants, registering only a goal and an assist in 13 outings.
However, over the past few months, after a period of bedding in and finding his feet, he is starting to deliver. In his last six appearances across all competitions, the £4.95m-rated winger, once dubbed a “special talent” by Arteta, has been involved in seven goals.
He bagged a goal and an assist against Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch Eredivise on Sunday. The London-born attacker also provided an assist to help Feyenoord to a 3-2 Europa Conference League semi-final first-leg win over Marseille, showing he can deliver on the big stage, and he’s now up to seven goal contributions since the beginning of April.
It took the 22-year-old a while to get going in the Netherlands, but he’s now into double figures for goals and assists this season, with 11.
Given he’s only made 15 starts in all competitions this campaign, that’s a good total. His decent numbers don’t stop there though, because when the former England U21 does feature for the Rotterdam club he does provide a telling contribution.
He’s been rewarded with a good SofaScore average rating of 7.04 in the Eredivisie, whilst also averaging 1.1 key passes, creating five big chances along with his four assists.
He is impactful in the final third because of his mazy dribbling, successfully completing a whopping 75% of his dribbles but, not only is he impressing in his attacking efforts, he’s also contributing defensively too.
The 12-time England U21 international averages 0.3 interceptions, 1.3 tackles and has winning 60% of his ground duels, as well 58% of his total duels, suggesting that he has so much to offer, becoming the complete all-round player when given the opportunity and room to thrive.
If Nelson can remain on his current trajectory for the rest of the season, he should draw plenty of interest this summer.
You’d imagine it will be difficult for him to find a way back into the Arsenal first-team, but not impossible, especially given he’s playing most of his football from the right flank at the moment.
If Nicolas Pepe does leave the Emirates this summer, Nelson could well have a role in rotating with Bukayo Saka and becoming a strong part of Arteta’s young and exciting core of Hale End academy stars.
For the time being, the England U21 international will be focusing on getting through that semi-final second leg against Marseille to reach his first European final.
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