With his path to regular first-team football in north London blocked by international-calibre talent, the 19-year-old made the call to head for Germany last summer.
A season-long stint in the Bundesliga was intended to get him the competitive minutes he craves and requires in order to make the most of his undoubted ability.
There have been highs and lows for Nelson away from Emirates Stadium, including six goals and punishment for a breach of club rules, but the experience has been productive on the whole.
Nelson now believes he is better placed to force his way into Unai Emery’s plans, with the England U21 international telling The Sun of his future ambition: “If I wasn’t aiming to break into the Arsenal first team, that wouldn’t be the correct mindset.
“I need to go there with that mindset of breaking into that team.
“I’ve done a year loan in Germany which has had ups and downs, but I’m going to be ready for next season. I want to get to the very top.”
Nelson has already received advice from a World Cup winner on how to reach his goals, with an Arsenal legend prepared to pass on words of encouragement.
“When Thierry Henry was U19 coach at Arsenal he gave me a lot of advice. His main thing was staying grounded,” added Nelson.
“A lot of kids, when they get to 18 or 19, they start getting flashy and forgetting about the real basics of being a professional footballer.
“He always said: ‘Understand that and you’ll get to the top'.
“But the guys in the Hoffenheim squad try and look after me a lot as well.
“Adam Szalai and Kerem Demirbay always keep an eye on me and make sure I’m doing the right things. They call me their little brother.”
While he boasts plenty of on-field support in Germany, Nelson admits that life in Hoffenheim has been something of a culture shock after being brought up in central London.
Quizzed on how he has been spending his time, the Arsenal academy graduate added: “I go bowling, but I’m not very good!
“In Heidelberg, in Hoffenheim, there’s not much going on.
“I am so used to being around my London estate, so when I am here I am kind of lost in a different environment, a different area.”
Nelson will soon be back in familiar surroundings and is determined to make the most of that opportunity.