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Many of us have known that Reiss Nelson was heading to Hoffenheim for a few days and its finally been made official.

Thankfully, his move there is a season-long loan only which comes alongside him signing a new contract with Arsenal. So there’s nothing to be scared about in terms of his contract anymore.

This move should be very interesting to watch. Especially as Serge Gnabry, a similar player who was coming through at Arsenal years back, similarly was on loan at Hoffenheim last season.

Like Nelson, he was mostly known as a winger before moving to Germany. However, after a spell at Werder Bremen and his year at Hoffenheim, he’s become competent playing through the middle.

With Nelson being handed the number nine, could this be a possibility for him too?

Gnabry’s move inside

Reiss Nelson Serge Gnabry Arsenal Hoffenheim Tactical Analysis
Serge Ganbry’s Heatmap from 2015/16
Reiss Nelson Serge Gnabry Arsenal Hoffenheim Tactical Analysis
Serge Gnabry’s heatmap from 2017/18 with Hoffenheim

As we can see from his heatmaps above, Gnabry went from the traditional winger to a player who could also lead the lineup front.

At Hoffenheim, last year, not only himself benefitted from this but also the team as he netted ten goals in 22 games. This helped them reach the Champions League.

Why We Can Expect To See Nelson Inside

Reiss Nelson Serge Gnabry Arsenal Hoffenheim Tactical Analysis
Hoffenheim’s most used formations last season

Last season, these were the formations that manager, Julian Naggelsmann favoured. With both systems using two strikers, it’ll be fair to assume Nelson will be used there at some point.

This should be a great education for a player who is already a fan favourite. However, just because Hoffenheim predominantly play this way, that doesn’t mean that Nelson has to play as a striker.

Encouragement Regardless

Gnabry wasn’t exclusively a striker at Hoffenheim and often played on the wing too. The typical winger traits were still evident in Gnabry’s game last season as we can see from the stats below. As we all know Nelson mostly as a winger/attacking midfielder he should get minutes there too.

Reiss Nelson Serge Gnabry Arsenal Hoffenheim Tactical Analysis
Gnabry’s stats from 2017/18

Last season, Nelson’s break into the Arsenal first team didn’t come in his favoured attacking positions. Instead, he was deployed as a wing-back for the early stages of cup competitions.

However, there we still saw what makes him such an effective attacker and his stats when looking at him as an attacking player, were encouraging:

Reiss Nelson Serge Gnabry Arsenal Hoffenheim Tactical Analysis
Nelson’s stats from 2017/18


With such a good base to work from, even if Nelson doesn’t quite fit as a striker, he will be very capable of playing on the wings.

Furthermore, we all know that its possible for English youngsters to impress in the Bundesliga with ex-Manchester City player Jadon Sancho being the first example.

This season, how Nelson develops at Hoffenheim will be a great watch. Also, this is a great move for everyone involved as with the confidence the German club seem to have in him, he should play a big part in their season.