Arsenal star Bukayo Saka will be boosted by the latest deal Mikel Arteta has pulled off.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may have just pulled off the perfect deal to help Bukayo Saka. Arteta has been searching for a player who can be a back-up to his star man and he may have found it in Reiss Nelson.

Nelson has ended speculation over his future by signing a new long-term contract. The winger rejected interest from across Europe and elsewhere in the Premier League to commit his future to the Gunners.

He was a peripheral figure last season but came up with big moments, including that last-minute winner at home to Bournemouth. Arsenal may not have finished the job in terms of winning the title but no fan will forget where they were when Nelson’s left-footed strike hit the back of the net.

The 23-year-old was highly-rated when coming through the ranks at Arsenal. But he has since been overtaken by younger fellow academy graduates such as Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

He had to do his time out on loan, with mixed success at Hoffenheim and Feyenoord. But Arsenal is where his heart has been and now he will be given the chance to forge a career at the Emirates.

Not many supporters would have Nelson in their starting XI. Both Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are two of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet.

But it is a squad game, especially with Arsenal back in the Champions League this season. Arteta cannot afford to keep using Saka as much as he has in recent campaigns.

The England star has avoided serious injury in the first few years of his fledgling career. He has played in each of Arsenal’s last 80 Premier League matches, starting 76 of them.

No outfield player in the rest of the top flight can currently boast anywhere near that record. Arteta was able to rest Saka at times last season in the Europa League, although he was still a regular off the bench.

However, Saka will be needed from the start in as many Champions League matches as possible. Arteta will want to have a capable back-up to come in for him in the odd match he cannot start.

Nelson still has plenty to prove and he arguably performed better off the left rather than the right last term. He knows he will largely be used as a back-up player, especially at the start of the season.

He must take every opportunity he gets to prove to Arteta he is ready to be a first-team regular. His contract renewal could be one of the most important pieces of business Arsenal do this summer in more ways than one.


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