Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could cause himself a future headache in the transfer market if he continues to ignore one Arsenal star following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle
Whilst that will come as a welcome relief to Mikel Arteta after he saw his side’s 10-game unbeaten run end last weekend in a crushing 4-0 defeat to Liverpool, the result has thrown up a selection headache for the Gunners boss.
After starting the first two Premier League games of the season, Gabriel Martinelli has played just 11 minutes of football in the league and hadn’t featured in over a month before he was introduced from the bench to replace the injured Bukayo Saka.
And the Brazilian made an immediate impact; volleying home the Gunners’ second goal with just his second touch of the game to seal the win for Arsenal.
His stunning goal sent a timely reminder to Arteta after his extended spell out of the side in recent weeks.
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Some fans have queried Arteta’s reluctance to utilise Martinelli following his recovery from a serious knee injury.
And the 20-year-old was linked with a temporary move away from the Emirates earlier this year – although Arteta was quick to quash any talk of an exit.
But Arteta needs to be careful that the transfer talk he tried to shut down doesn’t resurface in the near future.
Martinelli hasn’t featured any more prominently since Arteta attempted to quell rumours of an exit last month.
Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun have reportedly grown frustrated with a lack of first team action and both are believed to be open to leaving north London in the New Year.
If Arteta isn’t careful, their stance could rub off on Martinelli – which would be a huge blow for the Gunners.
Martinelli is widely regarded as one of the club’s most promising young stars and was even compared to Brazil icon Ronaldo by Ronaldinho last year.
But despite that, he’s still struggled to nail down a regular spot in Arteta’s team this year.
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Arsenal’s resurgence under the Spaniard in recent weeks has been led by a host of the club’s talented young stars, with Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, in particular, enjoying starring roles; which makes the apparent ostracisation of Martinelli even more curious.
Martinelli proved that he can step up to the fore and deliver in the Premier League despite his tender years – and he could defy Arteta’s talk of staying at the Emirates in search of an exit if his situation doesn’t change.
Martinelli’s father has already confirmed that Martinelli is frustrated with his lack of action earlier this month, although he did confirm that his son wasn’t seeking an exit.
And it appears Arsenal legend Martin Keown could also be concerned that Martinelli’s limited game time will come back to haunt Arsenal in the future.
The former Gunners defender fired a warning to Arteta after Martinelli’s cameo – insisting that “fans need to see more” of the exciting youngster.
“He’s had hardly any football but now he’s firmly in the mind of the manager, for sure,” said Keown after the match.
“We talk about dream goal, intelligence, awareness, movement. The anticipation there, time and space and execution of the finish is truly outstanding.
“He has a little look, he assesses the situation really well, just adjusts his feet and feathers it into the goal.
“He takes the weight out of that ball. It’s beautiful the way he does it, it just arrives onto his foot. It’s a perfect finish.
“All the time he’s pointing to his shirt and he’s saying: ‘Don’t forget me, I’m here, I’m in the building and that’s what I’m capable of!’
“He’s only started two games earlier in the season and he’s come off the bench four times. The fans need to see more of him, that’s his first goal of the season.
“When he first came into the team he was exceptional, got a few injuries, so it’s another one now who is knocking on the door for a first-team place.”