Mikel Arteta has played down suggestions that Reiss Nelson might leave on loan in January, and revealed that the winger’s absence from recent match-day squads is due to fitness issues and nothing more.
The 21 year old’s last appearance was on December 3rd in the 4-1 Europa League win over Rapid Vienna, and while there were some reports of a head injury, he wasn’t listed as an casualty in the club’s injury updates.
However, the manager says that Nelson hasn’t been fully fit and that’s why he hasn’t been included.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Brom, Arteta said “He had a little niggle.
“He’s not been feeling 100%, he had a muscular issue. He’s been in and out of training, and it’s a shame because I felt he was getting into his performance levels.
“He started to have some really good games, and he was starting to build that momentum, and this little injury set him back a little bit.
“But this week he has been much better.”
On the prospect of a January move and the speculation about his future because of his absence, Arteta said, “No. Probably it’s my mistake not to clarify the situation, and what was happening.
“But, he’s not been 100% fit, and that’s the reason he’s been out and not featuring in the squad.”
It’s been a stop start season for Reiss, with just seven appearances in all competitions.
The crowded nature of the right hand side, with Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Willian all in the mix might limit his chances even further, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he did go on loan, despite what the manager says.
Let’s see what happens.