Former Arsenal midfielder Michael Thomas has revealed in an exclusive chat with CaughtOffside that a potential loan switch for Gunners talent Reiss Nelson to Crystal Palace ‘makes so much sense’.
Thomas, who enjoyed a nine-year spell with the north London outfit before featuring for Liverpool, admits that Nelson is a youngster of ‘enormous quality’ who ‘needs the time’ to showcase himself.
Reports identifying the 21-year-old as an apparent loan target for the Eagles emerged about a week ago, with Sky Sports adding that the Gunners will allow the tricky winger to leave on loan this summer.
Thomas insists that a chance at regular minutes at Premier League level would do a ‘world of good’ for Nelson’s progression and Palace are suggested as an ideal destination due to the ties with Patrick Vieira.
Thomas adds that new Eagles boss Vieira will be aware of Nelson and his skills due to his relationship with former club Arsenal, providing him with the ‘contacts’ needed to get ‘glowing recommendations’.
Here is what Thomas had to say on the prospect of Nelson joining Palace on loan:
“A Premier League club and getting Premier League minutes would do Reiss’ progression a world of good. He is a young player with enormous quality and he needs the time and environment to show that.”
“Palace along with the new manager (Vieira), who will clearly know of Reiss and what he brings, as well as having good contacts around the club that will give him glowing recommendations makes so much sense.”
Nelson broke into the Gunners’ first-team in the 2017/18 season and the promise was high when the Londoner returned from a successful loan spell with Hoffenheim in the 18/19 campaign.
Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out for Nelson in the Arsenal first-team, the wide-man has been hindered with injuries over the last two seasons, starting 17 of his 31 outings over that period.
A loan seems to be the best option for Nelson considering he made just nine appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side last season, experiencing long spells out the squad even when he wasn’t injured.
Nelson has also seen sparing action during pre-season, playing a half against Hibernian and half an hour against Rangers before he was an unused substitute against Chelsea and resigned to a 10-minute cameo against rivals Spurs.
Wide players have held a massive role for Palace in recent seasons, as demonstrated by star man Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, who has moved to Everton this summer.
With that in mind, the south London outfit may be the perfect place for someone like Nelson to get regular minutes and reignite his development after a difficult period.