In Focus: Reiss tailor-made for Arsenal's title push
Reiss Nelson's winning goal against Bournemouth last Saturday may well prove to be the difference in the Premier League title race.
The Arsenal attacker came off the bench as a second-half substitute against the Cherries and found the net in the 97th minute to seal an epic 3-2 comeback victory.
Ahead of the Gunners' Europa League trip to Sporting tonight, we take a look at Nelson’s career and his contract situation at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s fighting spirit from 2-0 down was the sort of turnaround that can break the spirit of title rivals.
Manchester City had cut the gap between the clubs to just two points earlier in the day, only for Nelson to restore the five-point lead with a breathtaking left-footed strike.
The 23-year-old was lurking outside the box when an Arsenal corner was headed in his path and he expertly struck the ball into the top-right corner in the closing seconds of the contest.
It was Nelson’s third goal in just three Premier League appearances this season, with the forward having scored a brace last October against Nottingham Forest.
All those outings have come as a sub, with the academy graduate having only played eight times across all competitions this season.
Securing minutes at Arsenal has been a long-standing problem for Nelson.
Considered a huge talent as a youngster, Nelson’s debut came during the last season of Arsene Wenger’s reign in 2017-18, in which he made 16 appearances.
A loan move to Hoffenheim followed, with the then 18-year-old scoring seven goals in 23 Bundesliga games.
His boss Julian Nagelsmann, now Bayern Munich manager, had no doubt about the Londoner's ability.
Nagelsmann said: "He has great potential to develop. That’s why we loaned him in the first place. He’s an incredible player in one-on-one situations.
"It’s about growing in a healthy fashion for young players. It’s like being a musician. One good song can put bread on the table for a few weeks but it’s not about just being a one-hit wonder.
"It’s about being stable for a long time, in the best case doing that over the course of 15 years."
Nelson’s development at Hoffenheim saw him return to Arsenal, but he would only make 23 league appearances across two seasons before leaving on another loan in 2021.
This time he moved to Feyenoord, where he played under their progressive coach Arne Slot. In 32 games for the Dutch side, he scored four goals and helped the Rotterdam outfit reach the Europa Conference League final.
Nelson’s form for the Eredivisie giants earned him a place in Mikel Arteta’s squad for the 2022-23 season.
Yet the No24 has rarely been available to the Basque boss, after suffering a hamstring injury between August and September and then again between December and mid-February.
In addition, Nelson has found himself behind homegrown talent Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and January arrival Leandro Trossard in the pecking order.
Nelson’s contract with Arsenal will expire in the summer.
With three goals and two assists in less than 90 minutes of Premier League action this season, the former England Under-21s international may need more opportunities to be persuaded to sign a new deal.
The likes of Brighton, Everton, West Ham and Ligue 1 club Nice are all said to be interested, should the winger become available on a free transfer.
Giving Nelson more minutes between now and the end of the season may seal the offer reportedly tabled and the two-legged tie against Sporting looks like a good place to start.