Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted his mistake at not clarifying the status of Reiss Nelson.
The winger has impressed in the Gunners’ Europa League campaign, scoring a goal and providing an assist.
But despite those performances, and some energetic cameos in the Premier League, Nelson has not been named in a senior squad since 3 December.
That prompted rumours that his absence meant that Nelson would be heading for an exit in the January transfer window, with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Willian ahead of him in Arteta’s pecking order.
But Arteta has now admitted Nelson was ruled out due to an injury which was never made public, conceding he was at fault for not making the situation clear.
“It was my mistake to not clarify the situation with what’s been happening,” he said.
“But he’s not been 100 per cent fit and that’s the reason why he’s been out and not featuring with the squad.”
Nelson was reported to have turned down a loan move in the summer after struggling for minutes under Arteta.
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And rumours of an exit have resurfaced, with Arsenal eyeing a squad refresh to revive their season as they look to edge away from the relegation zone.
But the Gunners boss has moved to play down reports linking Nelson with a move away next month, insisting the winger has merely been struggling with a muscle injury.
“He had a little niggle, he’s not been 100 per cent,” Arteta said. “He’s had a muscular issue. He’s been in and out of training, he’s not been 100 per cent.
“It’s a shame because I felt he was getting into his performance levels, he started to have some really good games and he was starting to build that momentum.
“This little injury set him back a little bit. But I think he’s been much better.”
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