A trio of Premier League clubs are targeting a move for Reiss Nelson with time running out for Arsenal to make a decision on the young winger’s future.
Crystal Palace, Brentford and Brighton have joined a growing list of suitors for England Under 21 international Nelson, including several teams in the Bundesliga and Greek giants Olympiacos.
Nelson is out of contract in less than 12 months and has been offered an extension by the Gunners with a view to being loaned out for the 2021-22 campaign. However with no imminent sign of an agreement Arsenal face the prospect of cashing in for whatever price they can get this summer or risk losing him on a free at the end of the campaign. Nelson would be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside England from the start of 2022.
One of the most highly regarded players to come out of Arsenal’s Hale End academy in recent years, Nelson has found game time hard to come by particularly since the signing of Willian increased Mikel Arteta’s options in wide areas. The 21 year old made just two Premier League appearances last season — indeed he was only named in the matchday squad six times — and has not started a top flight match since scoring in a 2-1 win over Liverpool in July 2020.
The promise Nelson showed on loan at Hoffenheim in the 2018-19 season means that there are several clubs in Germany who would be prepared to make a move for the youngster though they may be prepared to hold firm until next year, when they could strike an early agreement for his services without having to pay Arsenal a transfer fee.
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Nelson is not the only bright young thing at Arsenal with a soon to be expired contract. The Gunners also offered Eddie Nketiah a new deal but with no indication that he is willing to extend his terms beyond 2022 they are under pressure to cash in on the youngster, who is of interest to London clubs West Ham and Crystal Palace. In both cases Arsenal are believed to want between $20 million and $27.6 million (£15 million to £20 million) though the contractual pressure on the Gunners could force them to accept a lower fee or risk losing one or both for a minimal return.
The young pair are not the only players who could leave Arsenal in what is set to be a hectic summer of comings and goings at the Emirates Stadium. Talks are ongoing with Roma for the sale of Granit Xhaka and any offer from Newcastle for Joe Willock, who excelled on loan in the north east during the second half of last season, will be carefully considered. If Arsenal are to accept a loan deal they would want it to come with an obligation to buy, as is the case with Hector Bellerin.
Arsenal have completed one signing — reserve left back Nuno Tavares — and are expected to announce the arrival of young midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Belgian side Anderlecht imminently. They are also well placed to secure the services of center back Ben White from Brighton (there has not yet been any indication of Nelson being used as a makeweight in that deal) and will look to further strengthen their midfield before the Premier League season kicks off in less than a month.