Monday, July 15, 2024

“We will make decisions in the next three days” – Arteta on Nelson, AMN & Mustafi

Mikel Arteta says he and the club are trying to find solutions for members of his squad who aren’t playing as regularly as they’d like.

The likes of Reiss Nelson, Ainsley-Maitland Niles and Shkodran Mustafi have been conspicuous by their absence from recent matchday squads and speculation is mounting they could leave Arsenal this month in some form or other.

Nelson, 21, was a candidate for a loan move in the summer but decided to stay at the Emirates to fight for his place. He’s since made 10 appearances but without any game time in the Premier League since November, there are concerns that he’s not developing as hoped.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Arteta hinted that the door is open for the England under-21 international and others to find a club for the rest of the season.

“That’s a conversation we are having with the player’s that are not having a lot of game time,” he said.

“Obviously we want to keep their development going. We will make decisions in the next three days with some of them about what is the best thing to do.

“We’ll try to be clear and transparent about what the plans are and the roles in the team and after that we’ll decide the best thing for the players and the club.”

Having impressed at the tail-end of last year, so much so that he earned call-ups to the England senior squad, things have tailed off for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

He seems to be paying the price for not having a defined ‘best’ position and looked rusty when asked to play at left-back against Crystal Palace two weeks ago. With one eye on the delayed European Championships that take place this summer, the boss recognises that the player is worried his chances to impress Gareth Southgate are slipping away.

“Yeah, it’s a concern when there is international football involved as well,” said Arteta.

“After reaching that opportunity, I understand that Ainsley wants more minutes. What he needs to do is fight, train and challenge his teammates and show us that he can be one of our starters.”

Arteta also touched on Shkodran Mustafi’s contract situation after reports surfaced that the Germany international was seeking to terminate his contract six months early on terms similar to those agreed with recent departees Sokratis and Mesut Ozil.

“Again, he’s another situation that is opening,” said the boss. “We’re having conversations internally with the player and agent and we’ll see what is the right solution for this one as well.

“We’re monitoring the situation, I cannot say much more than that. We have conversations going and we’ll see what the best [option] is by the end of the transfer window.”

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Nelson has failed to convince. He has not shown after his his early promise that he is anything other than a squad player for someone like Brighton or Southampton. Loan/sell. AMN is a useful utility player capable of the occasional very good game but is too inconsistent to start anywhere on the pitch and is never an England international. Loan/keep as backup. Mustafi should go. Just about OK for Europa League group games and cup ties against lower dividends teams (giving opportunities to rest starters) but no such fixtures remain during his contracted time at Arsenal. If we can get… Read more »


It would be really risky to loan AMN without brining in a LB cover. Having Cedric and Saka as the backup FBs is too thin. But, I think AMN’s time may be up in the summer.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Willian (very good player in very bad form) is getting plenty of game time he doesn’t deserve. AMN didn’t get enough minutes when he was in a good form and now that he is in a bad form his future is threatened.

santi's thigh grab

AMN super power is his recovery defensive speed. He’s inconsistent passing and protecting the ball at times. He doesn’t really have a consistent final third entry ball. Not technically secure enough to be in the center midfield. He’s a squad player right now who isn’t getting it done in training to warrant selection. He will be sold this summer. He should go on loan now to get better value. Cedric can play back up to LB and RB for the rest of the season. AMN can’t play LB, he plays LWB ok but we aren’t playing 3 at the back… Read more »


He can’t play LB? We kept a clean sheet against Palace. Its the only game he was criticised for – due to idiots like Alex Scott comparing him to Tierney. Did you watch the game? He made one excellent chance going past two players and defended solidly. It’s not like he had had a run recently to get into form. Everyone just blamed him bizarrely for a nil nil. The team did that half-hearted pressing all game that has lost us so many games this season – you can’t play a pressing game half-heartedly and you can’t blame a back… Read more »


He can play LB, but because he is strong defensively sure. But he doesn’t offer much going forward. His end product is pretty weak on either flank, but on the left it’s pretty useless because he can’t cross with his left. I like the guy a lot, but he’s a squad player and he wants and needs game time. Despite the fantasy of some sections of the fanbase he isn’t a midfielder, he has basically almost never played there for Arsenal and Arteta clearly doesn’t see him there. Is he a better fullback than Bellerin or Tierney? No way. Is… Read more »


Willian sucks! AMN we must keep.


I said in the summer we should have sold high on him on the back of his good form, COVID hurt most sales in the summer and is probably why he didn’t go. Even when he was in good form he was part of our team that was playing a very tight defensive structure and trying to knick goals, which we did well and snagged us the cup. Now we are trying to develop into a proper expansive team again AMN’s end product isn’t good enough to be a regular starter and he stifles our attack because his crossing and… Read more »


Nelson hasn’t long turned 21.

A loan seems like a good solution for both the player and the club.

The idea we should be writing off 21yr olds is insane, none of us know how young players will progress

He’s a big talent, and players develop at different rates, just look at Gnabry, or the development of Grealish + Maddison

Whilst we need to manage their progression, I still think both Nelson + Willock have the potential to have careers playing at the highest level.

El Mintero

I agree. Both AMN and Nelson should be retained, both have great potential. Another Gnabry situation would be a disaster.

A sad arsenal fan

A loan move for Nelson would help him a lot, providing he stays fit. We’ve seen how much Smith Rowe has matured since his loan move to Huddersfield; Nelson could benefit from this a lot.

I also think the same thing would be useful for Willock, as his decision making sometimes isn’t the greatest. However with the lack of midfield ‘depth’, I can’t see Willock being loaned out, especially with the tight schedule we’re about to face.

Sac, Lac & Craic

Wouldn’t be his first rodeo though – struggled to remain competitive after his early success on loan in Germany.

Agree he needs another chance though and maybe Championship would be best.


I think we have a lot of depth in midfield actually, and it’s hard to see how Willock will get much game time moving forwards. ESR, Odegaard, Willian (urgh) and Ceballos can play 10. Partey, Xhaka, Elneny, AMN (if he stays himself) and Ceballos again can play in the double pivot. We look stocked on the flanks as well.

A loan move would probably the best solution for him and Nelson, pending a decision to be made in the summer.


Willian cannot play as a 10. I’ve read this a lot,& it’s patently not the case.

For that matter, not sure Willian can play anywhere….

santi's thigh grab

He needs a loan.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Will the decision to chase our tail by letting go EL qualification through the FA Cup to achieve just that in the league help give them minutes?


I wish he gave him half the game time he gave to Willian so we could make a proper assessment. Same with Willock – who actually make great runs off the ball consistently


Nelson needs more game time. He deserves to play over Willian but looks like Arteta is giving Willian the benefit of the doubt over Nelson. I dont like it but I get it. Will he be around or should we sell next season? I’m open to either. Niles I dunno, I assume there is just something in training that is not convincing Arteta. After the FA Cup final they looked like best buddies! Strange to see him so far down the pecking order. I expect Niles to look for a permanent move come Summer. But maybe there is a sliver… Read more »

Vincent Ives

I think he plays Willian over Nelson because he’s stuck with the former and has to try and coax something out of him. With Nelson’s future being more ambiguous he doesn’t seem to feel the need to give him any minutes. You’re absolutely right though, Nelson just needs games. There’s definitely a player in there.


Yeh thats why I was saying…I dont like it but I get it. They have to TRY and get something from Willian. And as you say Nelson’s future is currently malleable. Hes got time to develop but hes also going to fetch a decent sum of money if we decide to sell him.
Willian has none of that.

John C

Whether we like it or not Willian is still our highest assist maker in the league this season, which incidentally is 1 higher than Ozil managed in either of his last 2 full seasons


What is it they say about statistics? Smith Rowe has just as many assists, 3, in half the minutes. Willian has one assist after the opening day win against Fulham.


Lord John Cuntingham hath spoken.


Willian showed promising glimpses of the player he should be vs Southampton , I think he will come good in coming weeks. In my heart Nelson should take his place but let’s be honest, he still has a leap to make to be true contender to start in PL


While I understand and feel the same frustration with willians hugely disappointing performances for us, I still find it odd that the ones hoping Willian will come good are fewer than those wishing for this potential new “Ozil nightmare” to continue. And yes I did see things in his few minutes against the saints that I have not seen since the opening Fulham game, hopefully a turning point, we really need it to be

Luton Gooner

TomH – You make very good points, speak some harsh truths and I agree with everything you say.

But I can’t shake the uneasiness my body feels at reading AMN called Niles.

It’s a down vote from me.


Sheesh, tough crowd 🙂 Fair doos.


AMN is the really interesting one here. There is clearly a player in there, but his body language/languid style does him no favours at all. MA wants his players to be giving everything, but I think Ainsley is unable to give the impression that he is. I’d love to keep him, & think he is a better bet in MF than Willock at the moment. But he is 24 this year (but currently remains 23), & there comes a time when you need to nail down a position. I’d like him to knuckle down & be the best RB he… Read more »

santi's thigh grab

He’s not good enough going forward on a consistent basis. His primary skill is shutting down the attack of the opponents best player, aka the FA Cup final. Arteta wants excellence both ways and AMN hasn’t convinced him. I’m ok with the manager making ruthless decisions on who plays and who doesn’t, as long as we are winning. Nelson should go to Championship side to get game time, Willock should go there as well, AMN should be sold in summer so either loan or give him some minutes to retain value and Mustafi should give back some money if he… Read more »


His overlaps and combination play with Auba was brilliant end of last season, in fact this was what impressed me the most.


Mustafi out, please.


Frankly, he should never have been “in”, and certainly wouldn’t have been with any other “big” club in the PL, but we are where we are. Nobody will buy him of course so I see another contract buy-out on the cards. He won’t be alone if that happens but it does say something about these disastrous signings, who were then hugely over-paid, that we now have to pay them to leave as it’s the only way of getting them out!


That picture
” I love you man, but we can never be truly happy together”

Your Mother’s Favourite

Why don’t he just let Willian go on loan and let nelson fight for his place.


Because no one will take Willian on loan given his form, age and cost. It’s like buying an expensive house and then realising it’s got subsidence issues everywhere. You can’t sell it or even rent it out. You’re stuck with assuming the consequences of your mistake.


I think we need to offload all three if we can (saying it, as always, is easier than doing it though). We need a trim, slim(mer), squad with the emphasis on quality not big numbers. We haven’t had that for a long time now, but recent contract-buy-outs have helped. The removal of these three would be a big step towards that goal.


Willock & AMN have moved backwards the most, both where becoming starters, it seems they struggle to mentally deal with ha ing to fight for their spot, not easy to keep doubts out and confidence high when you see other youngsters propel as key members. Loan moves should be considered even more now tff he at we are out of Arsenal cup


Regarding AMN what basis do you have for saying that? He hasn’t had playing time like last season


The fact he is not playing much is telling, but I base it on how he has faired when fielded. I was a huge fan of AMN already in his 1st games, he has physical, technical and No fear abilities that makes him a pure joy to watch when in form. I hope he reads my 1st few lines and decides to make me regret ever doubting his greatness

Simon Weitzman

Totally agree with Mustafi out – would like to think we are operating with him this way for a clever sale, but would be glad if he were able to continue his career elsewhere. Perhaps a good player but undone by repeated and catastrophic calamities…

Eddy F

Nelson needs a loan. The club wanted him to go in the summer to gain experience but he wanted to stay and fight for his place. Surely he can see he needs to go now as I don’t see where he’ll get game time unless Auba, Martinelli, Saka, Pepe and Willian are all injured simultaneously…

Surely a PL team fighting for relegation would take a pacey direct winger for half a season? Except for West Brom or Burnley due to styles of play.

Brighton or Fulham would be perfect for him to develop.


Would expect we’d keep AMN for fullback and midfield cover, but there’s definitely a conversation to be had in the summer. Loan moves would make the most sense for Willock and Nelson, can’t see either of them really getting too much game time as it stands.


Yeah, it doesn’t sound like much going on with Willock, but with Odegaard arriving it seems we have numbers to allow Willock a loan. He could really use it. I think he’s going to be a really good player, just needs to smooth a few of his rough edges (technique, touch, vision, particularly). Do that and he becomes that super mobile box-to-box CM/AM that teams dream about having in their squad. I see a lot of Diaby in him, just without the polish right now. He’s got a long way to go to get to that sort of level, but… Read more »


Nothing like diaby other than they are both tall and black lazy comparison


He’s more like Rosicky – pass and move, drive forward, slim, dark hair, strange but attractive come to bed eyes, high cheek bones, celebratory finger signs and a winning smile. Meow


I’m not as convinced anymore. That’s a hell of a lot of rough edges to smooth over at his age, and he’ll need regular game time to do it. As you say, it is possible, but it’s not likely without playing and he’s way behind in the pecking order atm.


I’m far from convinced he’ll make it. But the way he moves in space and through the lines means he understands a big part of being that player, but he definitely lacks the touch and technique and passing right now. And I agree he needs game time.


So on William is not helping the squad with all hope from his experience it now a boarding to young player,
Reiss Nelson,
Arsenal most keep Ainsley-Maitland Niles and sell Shkodran Mustafi to make space for other players
Arsenal needs a buyback option in all young players not just selling, Odegaard is made for Arsenal but we missed it now comes second chance.
Ceballos, Mustafi and William can go .


AMN would definitely gain from a loan move. He’s a confident individual albiet careless and casual at times. Which is frustrating coz of his huge potential!

He needs to realise he has to show his hunger and be focused towards the teams goals..

santi's thigh grab

I think this is the point, he isn’t able to show his hunger and focus on team goals in training so the manager doesn’t select him. Not sure he has the mentality, a la Gabby, that the manager is looking for in players. The first comments from Arteta about AFC, when we lost to Citeh before he was Arsenal’s manager, was about the culture of our club and our mentality. He and Edu are removing every player who does not have the right mentality. AMN is gone this summer, he’s no longer a kid given how many first team appearances… Read more »


Keep AMN.

The other two – get rid. ASAP.


Really feels like some house cleaning is taking place, and I am all for it. I know we live in fear of another Gnabry, but I don’t think any of the players mentioned seem up to the standard we are aiming for.

The G

That is what people thought at the time about Gnabry.

santi's thigh grab

I don’t think so. People were disappointed he refused to sign a contract with the club at the time. His talent was there for everyone to see. The club, Wenger, mishandled him as a player. You send a talented player like him to Tony Pulis, who called him fat and lazy, and wouldn’t play him there’s good reasons why he left the club with a chip on his shoulder. Obviously a good decision for the player.


LOL… Thats not true – he was great. Got injured. Instead of working his way back into the team he buggered of – blaming his lack of first team – the despicable lying git


Not me 4suee, he showed more promise in a few games than Walcott did in 10years. It was early to say he would become a German international, but he looked completely brilliant. Walcott seems to be a fantastic lad, but I was super unhappy with the endless bandwidth of faith AW showed him and the lack of the same towards Gnabry and the ox.


Thats not true – he was great. Got injured. Instead of working his way back into the team he buggered of – blaming his lack of first team – the despicable lying git


Funny, I’ve made my decision about Mustafi some two years ago.


I made mine years ago.

That home game against Crystal Palace 2017/18 where he singlehandedly more or less threw away top four for us – after weeks of hard work by the rest of the team.


My bad.

2016/17. Crystal Palace 3 Arsenal 0.


Can we keep Nelson and send Willian on loan?

Ray w

I used to love Amn when he broke into the 1st team I thought he was a talented youngster with a great future and every week he played he looked better then I watched him in europa final against Chelsea and he was walking around the pitch with no heart and I’ve watched him since and what I saw in him to start with has gone he looks like he belongs in Sheffield not in arsenal sell him cos I don’t think he’s gonna take anyone’s spot in the 1st team

D becks

Should loan out Eddie also, he is to light weight and should be replaced by balogun



Arteta: Reiss, I will use you off the bench and if you perform well you can start some games

Nelson: C’mon boss, you’re just twisting my ear

Arteta: (…)


he hasn’t been used off the bench though


AMN has been great at left back all things considered. He had one game in which he was criticised – he wasn’t even that bad against Palace and he nearly scored a blinder – but he was being compared with Tierney – our best player this season. We kept a clean sheet and he was in defence. Totally unfair to throw him under the bus after one “below par” performance. He refuses to give him a run in midfield. Well done Artet al – why don’t you spend 2m more on improving some Real Madrid players at the expense of… Read more »


Sounds about right. The hope is we can mint some money from a sale or two. I think Balogun should be sold ( I would not be allergic to selling Nketiah too TBH with Tyreece JJ coming along but likely he will be kept for Homegrown numbers this season) Mustafi and Torreira if we can engineer permanent deals with some money in will be beneficial. We have still been poor generating any money on sales which is problematic going into next window particularly with loans to Ceballos, Odegaard temporary solutions only with the can kicked down the road. Add in… Read more »

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