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Reiss Nelson showing Arsenal his world-class potential at Hoffenheim

09:30 GMT 16/11/2018
Reiss Nelson
The Bundesliga Rookie of the Month has been one of the shining lights in Germany this season, prompting calls for his loan spell to be cut short

Six Bundesliga goals in just seven appearances: it’s the kind of form that you’d expect to see from a seasoned professional or top striker playing for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Instead, it's the 18-year-old who couldn’t get a game at Arsenal who is tearing up one of Europe's most competitive leagues with Hoffenheim.

Yes, Reiss Nelson is the other revelation of the Bundesliga season so far!

Jadon Sancho may be the name on every England fan's lips right now, after his impressive international debut on Thursday night, but his compatriot and good friend Nelson is matching the Borussia Dortmund winger's sensational start to life in Germany.

Indeed, Nelson’s form has seen him voted 'Rookie of the Month' and prompted calls from Arsenal supporters to cut short his season-long loan spell at Hoffenheim and bring him back to the Emirates, particularly now that Danny Welbeck is set to miss the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

“At the moment, we don’t speak about that,” Gunners head coach Unai Emery has said. "But we are very happy with Reiss at the moment. We follow him in every match. We are thinking how he can help us in the future.”

Still, those calls to see Nelson playing for Arsenal again before the end of the season are understandable when you look at the impact he’s making for Hoffenheim. His total game contribution still has major room for improvement but there can be no argument that his goals and creativity are hugely important to Julian Nagelsmann's side.

The Gunners are pleased with Nelson’s progress and there is genuine believe that he can go on to become a first-team regular next season. Head of football Raul Sanllehi persuaded Nelson to sign a contract extension before he left on loan this summer and it’s a decision which is proving to be an absolute masterstroke. 

However, those wanting to bring him back early should consider why he has been sent on loan in the first place: to play regular top-flight level, develop and mature as a player and show that he can adapt by going out of his comfort zone. So far so good on all of those fronts, so why risk stunting his growth now?

Tellingly, Nelson has also played down suggestions that he could return to north London in January by hinting that he wants to stay at Hoffenheim so that he can continue to grow, thus putting himself in a better position to challenge for a starting berth at Arsenal in 2019-20.

“Arsenal are my boyhood club," Nelson told the BBC. "I've been with them since I was eight, so that's 10 years.  

"I just want to go back there stronger because, at the time I was at Arsenal, I was 16, 17 and I didn't feel confident.  

"I didn't think I was a man, but now I'm feeling stronger and I think a couple more months or even a year in Hoffenheim will make me stronger and give me the belief and confidence to go back to Arsenal and do very well there.  

"I want to be an Arsenal legend."

Despite all of the hype surrounding his fine form at Hoffenheim, Nelson says he "needs to keep his feet on the ground and keep positive", hinting at the kind of maturity required to excel at the highest level.

Furthermore, Nelson’s recent brace against Nurnberg showed that he is unfazed by the big occasion and possesses the confidence to become a world-class player.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger once said that Nelson had skills that not many other players have and tipped him as a future star of the Premier League.

He's already becoming one in the Bundesliga. If he continues on his current path, it'll only be a matter of time before he becomes one of the Premier League's leading lights too.