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Whither Reiss?

Reiss Nelson has reportedly signed a new deal. How much will he play?

Arsenal FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal have reportedly agreed a new contract with Reiss Nelson, ahead of the expiration of the 24-year old’s current deal. Nelson, of course, scored the winner against Bournemouth, but had a bright impact when he played during the season, offering a directness and ability to get behind whether playing on the left or right.

However, Nelson only played 212 minutes in the Premier League, and a further 298 in the Europa League. That doesn’t exactly scream a trusted member of the squad, nor someone who can come in and easily start in place of Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Martinelli. One of Saka and Martinelli started every game this season, which will likely not be feasible next year, as the increase in competitive fixtures takes hold. The question, then, is if Nelson can take some of those minutes.

There are some parallels with Eddie Nketiah last year. Nketiath renewed out of a sense expediency, as it was easier to keep the home grown striker as a backup while buying a new striker. But Nketiah hasn’t started since February, and is likely behind Leandro Trossard at centre forward. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad deal per se, but that Nketiah isn’t high on Mikel Arteta’s trust level. If Arsenal are going to go to a place where 18 or 19 players are trusted, Arteta will need to play someone like Reiss Nelson—meaning this is a conversation that can develop over the course of next season.