Arsenal moved on several players this summer, in fact they shaved more than half a million of their wage bill. This has created some opportunities for other members of the squad, particularly the younger players.
With Freddie Ljungberg’s promotion to assistant manager, the club are clearly keen to give the academy players more first team recognition this season. One player who will have plenty of chances to step up this season is Reiss Nelson.
The young English winger impressed in spells for Hoffenheim last season and now he has a chance to emulate his friend, Jadon Sancho. Nelson’s favoured position is left midfield and with Alex Iwobi and Mkhitaryan making way this summer, the club clearly have faith in Reiss to step up.
There is no natural senior left winger in the Arsenal squad now and although Aubameyang has frequently played there, he is not natural in this position.
Alexandre Lacazette’s recent injury also means Aubameyang will be utilised through the middle.
But Arsenal fans will have to show patience with 19-year-old Nelson, who still has plenty of time to continue his development and become a top player. So far this season, he has earned mixed reviews.
Reiss will not be alone in attempting to grab those extra minutes on the field, though. Summer signing Gabriel Martinelli is also known for playing on the left, whilst fellow academy graduate Saka will be keen to push for first team action this season.
Reiss appears to be first in line though, with the under 21 international turning 20 in December, he will be considered a senior option against Martinelli and Saka, both of which recently turned 18.
With the Gunners again in Europa League action this season, the clubs youngsters are likely to gain more valuable first team experience. We’ve seen the likes of Joe Willock and Nelson already heavily involved in the Premier League and Nelson may earn a start in the Europa League on Thursday, when Emery’s men face a tricky trip to Frankfurt.