Reiss Nelson’s long-term future at Arsenal was uncertain for a considerable amount of time as the hugely talented youngster deliberated over signing a new contract.
Now he has put pen to paper, thoughts can begin to turn to how Nelson will eventually break into the first-team and his loan spell at Hoffenheim will certainly provide the 18-year-old with an excellent platform to showcase his potential.
A goal on his debut in the defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf was just the beginning as, if Nelson applies himself correctly, he is capable of making a major impact in the Bundesliga this season which would set him in good stead to become increasingly involved for Arsenal next campaign.
Working under an excellent young coach in Julian Nagelssman will be hugely beneficial for Nelson’s development and it seems clear that the Hoffenheim boss has an immense amount of belief in the Arsenal loanee’s quality.
The opportunity to play in the Champions League, including potentially against Manchester City, is one of the biggest plus points of this loan spell for Nelson as he will receive the chance to express himself at the highest level, yet he won’t be under quite as much scrutiny as he would be if he was playing in the Arsenal first-team.
Nelson was on the periphery of the Arsenal squad last season and featured in various competitions, yet we only witnessed glimpses of the undoubted ability that he possesses.
At times it seemed that Nelson was a little too cautious in his approach and was afraid to take risks for fear of losing possession.
In pre-season this summer he seemed rather more direct and he has now taken that into his first appearance for Hoffenheim.
One thing is for certain, Nelson may not quite be ready to play for Arsenal every week but he is definitely above U23 level.
Playing for the second string with the occasional first-team appearance thrown in wouldn’t have been beneficial for Nelson this season and would have rendered it difficult for him to build up momentum.
Now at Hoffenheim he has a chance to establish himself in the starting lineup and gain extremely valuable playing time.
There will, inevitably, be some low points as the season progresses, but Nelson has started on a high and will be aiming to continue in that vein, with the Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk next up.
It will be intriguing to see how Nelson develops at Hoffenheim and the hope is that he will return to Arsenal next summer ready to challenge for a regular place in the side.