The youth player hype cycle is one of the most tiring/rewarding sides of being an Arsenal fan.
“We do not buy superstars. We make them.” – Arsene Wenger
The first half of the last decade was especially rough for Arsenal development team, whether it was players they stole from renowned academies failing to even break into the squad e.g.Jon Miquel Toral, shrewd international youth player signings who didn’t pan out e.g. Ryo Miyaichi/Gedion Zelalem / Joel Campbell or the severe academy dry spell Arsenal experienced for the first half of last decade where none of our graduates are in the current Arsenal squad.
None of those players made the grade at Arsenal, even the stars of their respective classes e.g Akpom/ Hayden/Willock are now championship level players.
The worst part as a fan was seeing some of those that did make the grade be thoroughly broken down by injuries e.g Ox, Wilshere and Diaby.
The Youth Football Conundrum;
Reiss Nelson is nearing the end cycle of the hype where people realize maybe….just maybe this guy may not be of the grade.
I want Nelson to succeed but how long can Arsenal wait till he puts it together? Younger players like Martinelli and fellow Hale End product Saka seem to have gone past him while our activity in the transfer market and the recent renaissance by Hale End means more quality options are on the way.
I’m not saying Nelson needs to turn into 2013/14 Gareth Bale but Arsenal need to see something. What this something is I don’t really know but Martinelli’s highlight reel run against Chelsea comes to mind or Saka’s Europa game assist, those one off scenario’s were flashes of world class ability.
These two players perform these special skills on a consistent basis. Arsenal’s investment is made with definite proof that there is something down the line worth investing in these two players.
The conundrum with Nelson is that he has had flashes of a high level starter at his loan spells around Europe. Nelson’s Bundesliga stint being a standout, Julian Nagelsmann of all people gave him the certified stamp of world class potential. However, Nelson has failed to build on these loan moves and that leaves Arsenal in a tight spot.
Is The Fully Formed Reiss Nelson Worth The Wait?
Reiss Nelson has an eye for goal, is considered a very good one on one dribbler for his age while also being an able crosser. Those are the foundations for a complete winger who is dangerous cutting inside towards the box or pushing the touchline. Yet there is no consistency in which he’ll display these abilities. Countless loan spells have seemingly failed to change this.
In many ways Nelson is frustrating as the flashes he shows of being a complete winger accompany periods he seems lost on the pitch. If his play style remains at it’s current level where all he displays are moments/flashes then he’ll just be Alex Iwobi the sequel;
If we allow him to leave and he polishes up even one of those good skills to world class it’ll be another Gnabry scenario where we let him go to early and should’ve suffered through the drifting games.
Arsenal are in no position to have him be nothing more than a rotation piece, Nelson is an inconsistent player whose getting on and off game time.
Youth Football is full of so many inconsistent good players who could be World Class down the line. Every club Youth Football is a conundrum.
Somehow, One More Season;
Nelson is still part of the set up and should get minutes in the Europa League and early cup rounds while coming off the bench for Arsenal in the Premier League.
One of his specialized skills needs to pop for Arsenal to invest on the development track. Martinelli has staked a claim to be in every match day squad by proving to be a consistent goal threat, Saka did the same by being one of our lead creators every time he stepped on the pitch.
One on one success rate, shots to goal ratio even just turning into a consistent crosser who puts the ball in the box once every 10 minutes one of these skills have to pop this season. If the inconsistencies persist with Reiss Nelson, Arsenal should sell him for all his value just like we did Iwobi.