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HomeSPORTSStar admits he needed Arteta to persuade him to stay

Star admits he needed Arteta to persuade him to stay

Star admits he needed Arteta to persuade him to stay

Before signing a new contract with Arsenal, Reiss Nelson had to be convinced that he had a position in the club’s lineup. 

Due to his limited playing time at the club since signing his previous contract in 2018 – the 23-year-old has yet to play a full season for the Gunners – it was widely believed he would leave as a free agent at the end of June. 

The Gunners, headed by manager Mikel Arteta, did everything they could to keep the winger, despite the fact that Bukayo Saka is ahead of him in the pecking order, because they were impressed by the winger’s performances in cameo roles last season. 

In an interview with ESPN, Nelson confessed that he had to be convinced to write. 

“Yeah, because I feel like I’m at a stage now of my career where football is important to me. Of course, with Arsenal, it’s the team I love and the team I’ve been at since I was like eight years old. There comes a time where you think about also playing football as well. 

“I spoke with Mikel quite a lot of times and he kind of explained the route that he sees for me and the transition that he’s seen in me from previous years to now. We had a good conversation and that changed my mind and I signed.”

“I feel like I took my chances when my chances were there [last season]. I feel as a player, sometimes you’re just constantly just waiting, waiting, waiting, and then when you get your chance, you might not be ready for your chance, you know, but I thought I was working in the back with a lot of the guys, a lot of the guys were training quite hard with me as well, and I think when I got opportunities to play, I kind of showed what I can do in the minutes that I got.”

Certainly he did. Nelson not only scored twice as a second-half substitute against Nottingham Forest, but he also inspired the Gunners to a 3-2 comeback victory over Bournemouth with an assist and a last-second goal. Later, he was voted the 2023/24 Premier League Gamechanger of the Year. 

Reflecting on how Arteta inspired him before being substituted against the Cherries, he stated:

“I felt like in that moment he saw the left-hand side was open for me to use my attributes, and he just told me, ‘I want you to, every time you get the ball, get at your man. I don’t care if you lose it, just keep using the ball.’

“Some managers say, play it safe and stuff like that, but he wants you to take the risk. We talk about risk for reward and I felt like a lot of the time for him, if the reward’s high, you go for it. At that time, we were losing, so it benefited us.”

When asked about his goals for the upcoming season and whether such discussions have taken place with the club, Nelson brought up the importance of remaining healthy.

 Having missed a few weeks of preseason, it appears he is already questionable for Saturday’s season opener against Nottingham Forest

“I spoke with the boss about it [setting targets]. I said, look, like for me, this season I want to kind of set in stone some things that I need to hit. We spoke about that, he said, ‘This is what I think you need to work on’. I said, ‘I feel like I need to work on this’.  

“We came to a conclusion and we sit down and we kind of go through the things I need to work on and hit targets, you know. But for me, it’s just about being available. Like I said, injuries is one of the ones where I missed 17 games last season. So it’s not one of the ones where I want to be missing any games for any niggles and stuff like that. I want to be available and help the team.”

Star admits he needed Arteta to persuade him to stay

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