Reiss Nelson at crossroads as Arsenal offer contract extension; Brighton and Nice are interested in it

In the days before Bournemouth on a visit to the Emirates Stadium, Reiss Nelson He was pondering perhaps the most significant question of his career so far. Arsenal, the team he grew up supporting and whose academy he was with at the age of nine, have indicated their willingness to extend a contract due to expire at the end of the seasons. As he himself said earlier in the season, he wanted to stay in north London.

However, there have been expressions of interest from elsewhere, including Premier League side Brighton and Nice of Ligue 1. Having underperformed Mikel Arteta’s squad for the last two Premier League games, Nelson was ready to are considering options away from the Emirates Stadium, sources told CBS Sports.

Unless it was an ankle injury Eddie Nketiah In the days leading up to Saturday’s game, Nelson might have been left out of the 20-man group again. What happened next is destined for the annals of Arsenal folklore; even if Arteta’s side don’t win the Premier League title this season no one will ever forget the explosive joy that greeted Nelson’s 98th-minute left-footed flick. It was an instant that could change the course of the Gunners’ season, will it do the same for the player’s career?

Before Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, Nelson was considered the jewel in the Hale End crown, a star of the future who Arsene Wenger regarded as one of the best youngsters the club had ever produced. An explosive start on loan at Hoffenheim in 2018 led to talk of a place in the England squad for the then 19-year-old. Even as Arsenal struggled in later years, Nelson could convince himself that the club was being managed by Arteta, who he trained alongside when he was first brought into the first team. Spain’s first matchday squad saw the academy graduate in favor of club record signing Nicolas Pepe and even now speaks of Nelson in the warmest terms.

“I’ve always seen the potential, the talent and the desire to do it,” Arteta said in Saturday’s hazy post-winner performance, “but I think he’s on a different level now. I think emotionally, the experiences that From a footballing point of view, it was my decision not to put him in the squad for the last two games because we had other options.

“He is knocking on the door. He is training very well and it is a good lesson for me and the coaches that we want him and that he can be important in the team.”

Before Saturday, the chances of getting a serious role in Arsenal’s title run were looking slim on the ground for Nelson, who would have done well to get a meaningful moment over the Europa League. Now, with Leandro Trossard joining Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus on the sidelines and Smith Rowe still working his way back to full fitness, there is a chance for the 23-year-old.

However, one could have said the same after Nelson’s previous display from the bench, scoring twice after Saka was forced off against Nottingham Forest that was just getting nervous for Arsenal. This seemed to be his moment but Saka had recovered his fitness in time for the next Premier League match Chelsea. Nelson would play in the EFL Cup loss to Brighton but would only get one minute against Wolves before the World Cup. When domestic football returned, a second muscular issue surfaced and was set aside again.

With all his frustrations at Arsenal and on loan in recent seasons, there are plenty of clubs keen to take advantage of his expiring contract. When a club with a Brighton pedigree is on their radar, it’s a huge compliment to Nelson’s talent. Nice’s ambitious recruitment from the Premier League has paid dividends in recent months as they climb the Ligue 1 table. If the Gunners struggle to agree a deal with Nelson, sources have told CBS Sports that there is at least one club in the Bundesliga who they would be interested in bringing him back to Germany.

It would undoubtedly be the key to Nelson leaving Arsenal. As he said to the London Night Standard in November, “I’m an Arsenal fan and, of course, I want to sign a new contract at the club. I’ll be ready for anything I get now and I’ll give my all to the team.”

However, it is and always will be the case that Saka and Gabriel Martinelli – two of Arteta’s most transcendent talents, young forwards already among the Premier League’s best – are younger than Nelson. The latter has signed a long-term extension that marks him as a starter, and the former is about to.

Whatever Nelson decides, though, he can be sure he won’t be forgotten in north London anytime soon. Indeed if his late winner on Saturday has the kind of titanic impact that Arsenal fans are dreaming of, the Hale End graduate will not have to pay for a pint at Holloway Road long after his playing career is over.

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