Arsenal had one of the busiest transfer windows in Europe in January, moving on no less than eight players either permanently or on temporary deals. Reiss Nelson, however, remained in north London.
Seeing Hale End stars Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off on six-month loan moves to Newcastle and West Brom respectively, the sentiment was understandable as neither player was earning meaningful playing time this season.
The Magpies desperately needed a box-to-box midfielder to provide energy in the middle of the park, while West Brom were in demand for just about anything they could get their hands on to halt their slippery slide towards relegation.
With Mikel Arteta settling on his preferred starting lineup, any minutes accrued for the duo would come as a result of injuries to fellow players or, at best, late run outs in the dying embers of matches. Regular playing time elsewhere, albeit at clubs with vastly different styles, trumps the occasional cameo appearance at Arsenal.
Arsenal not loaning out Reiss Nelson puts the Hale End star’s career at a crossroads
So, what about Reiss Nelson then?
Earning the bulk of his nine appearances in the Europa League this campaign, Nelson has only made two Premier League squads, accruing 70 minutes of action in matches against Leeds and Wolves. With Gabriel Martinelli back from injury and others finding form, the seemingly impossible task of being pushed even further down the pecking order has occurred.
It was widely reported that he was free to move on loan this window for the same reasons as his two academy teammates. Nothing materialised. Without Carabao Cup or FA Cup competitions left, and with the Europa League knockouts to come, his time with the senior side has come to an end this season.