The general consensus is that Unai Emery has transformed the Gunners into a much better side since arriving in the summer, with a handful of individual improvements to note.
Perhaps the most radical transformation has been the form of Alex Iwobi. A player who appeared tentative, ineffective and restricted under Arsene Wenger, the Nigeria international is now playing with an infectious swagger which suggests his confidence has grown exponentially since the Spaniard took charge.
But it’s not only the clear shift in Iwobi’s self-belief which has impressed fans and pundits alike, his end-product has dramatically improved.
From just 5 Premier League starts Iwobi has managed to provide 1 goal and 3 assists, and he has played incisive through balls in the build up to a handful of other Arsenal strikes so far this season.
It’s a dramatic improvement which will do wonders for Emery’s standing amongst the Gunners faithful, but there is reason to believe that Iwobi may yet be forced to pursue his career away from the Emirates Stadium.
Indeed, Reiss Nelson’s form in the Bundesliga suggests that Arsenal have a phenomenal talent who is simply waiting to be unleashed in the Premier League, and a recent admission from Emery suggests that he could yet return to north London before the end of the season.
When asked about the possibility of cutting Nelson’s loan spell short, Emery said (via Goal): “At the moment we don’t speak about that.”
Whether or not Nelson does indeed return in January will naturally depend on whether Arsenal are suffering from any major injury concerns when the window reopens for business but, looking ahead to his scheduled return next summer, Iwobi and Emery will be forced to have a serious discussion about the future.
After all, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has ensured that Iwobi is far from a guaranteed starter, but that is bound to frustrate the 22-year-old as he bids to establish himself in the Premier League.
Add Nelson into the equation and it’s clear that Arsenal are stacked for talent in attacking midfield, and his presence may well force Iwobi to pursue his career elsewhere if Emery is unable to guarantee him regular first-team football.
It’s not a scenario which the Arsenal supporters will envisage with any great enthusiasm, but ultimately Iwobi will have to put the best interests of his career above everything else and, if he wants first-team football, he may need to begin a new chapter in order to realise that aim.
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