Reiss Nelson has hinted that he was considering leaving Arsenal on a permanent basis before he signed a new contract and joined Hoffenheim on loan for the duration of the 2018-19 season.
The 18 year old was into the final 12 months of his deal, and despite months of discussion and negotiation he had yet to put pen to paper on new terms.
However, he says he’s determined to come back to North London a better player after a season in the Bundesliga, and to fulfill his dream of playing for the Gunners.
Speaking ahead of England U21’s final two Euro qualifiers against Andorra and Scotland, the 18 year old said the lure of working with Julian Nagelsmann and the experience he’d gain in the German top flight was a key consideration.
“A loan wasn’t always my first option, but when I heard the Bundesliga and Hoffenheim was an option for me and working with the manager there, it was something I wanted to do,” he said.
“Julian’s a great manager and he’s got belief in young players so it’s a good place for me to go and play.
“He’s very young, he’s only 31 and I think it’s important to go to a team and a coach who believes in you, so he was the main reason because he is willing to play us.”
And on his ambitions to make the grade at the club he’s been at since he was just a kid, he continued, “It was hard to leave my boyhood club Arsenal, it’s still my dream to play for Arsenal, but I know I have to put that on hold and go and play abroad to get some experience in Germany.
“So I’m trying to do my stuff there, get stronger and come back ready to play for Arsenal’s first team, so I had to take the opportunity to go there.
“I’ve settled in well and I’m enjoying it. My dad is German too, from near Munich, so I knew what to expect and I’m learning the language with an app called Babbel and it’s going well.”
Nelson’s loan move has started promisingly, scoring two goals in three appearances so far – although unfortunately both games ended in defeat for Hoffenheim.