Arsenal fans are becoming anxious over Mikel Arteta’s position regarding Gabriel Martinelli, the player who has given rise to feverish anticipation levels in the ranks of the Arsenal faithful can’t buy a game. The Brazilian youngster, acknowledged by Jurgen Klopp as the ‘Talent of the Century’, can’t even get ten or fifteen minutes on the field of play if Arsenal are winning comfortably or losing miserably and fans are growing concerned that there’s a problem between Martinelli and Arteta.
It’s a baffling situation, especially when you consider that Arsenal have needed fresh ideas and cutting edge on more than one occasion this season, but Arteta has stubbornly persevered with the likes of Pepe and Willian who haven’t shown half as much or as often as Martinelli.
The recent interview by Arteta regarding Martinelli has also raised eyebrows. It was perceived as a meaningless smokescreen that further confused an already muddled situation when he said:
“Everybody has raised the level in recent weeks. Since Christmas, the front players have given us something different.”
“Laca has given us some really good spells, Nicolas Pepe is the same. I was really pleased with Willian yesterday because of the way he trains and he is starting to produce in games.”
“Everybody has to step up in games and create big moments because the front players at the end have to be the ones who decide it for us.”
Understood, but that’s only possible if you get the opportunities on the pitch and Martinelli isn’t getting any. If he was given 20 minutes to half an hour, it would be an understandable and slow introduction back into the fold after injury but, to not feature at all, no matter what the circumstances, is distinctly odd.
The lad appears to be grounded so it can’t be his attitude. He’s worked hard to claw his way back to fitness so we can rule out his work rate and application. In the clash against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup, he was a menace to Guardiola’s side, the biggest threat to their passage into the semi-finals until his injury, so it’s not his appetite that’s missing.
However, he sustained an ankle injury during the warm-up ahead of the FA Cup clash against Newcastle and perhaps, Arteta doesn’t want to risk his rising star just yet but having said that the odd game has been crying out for his talents. What other reasons could there be that fit Gabby’s exclusion?
Who knows, but the player may have voiced an opinion on his continuing omission and who knows if there’s friction or tension between the pair as a result. However, everything possible must be done to keep Martinelli at the Emirates because he has huge potential in the years ahead. This is not unsolvable like the inevitable collision between the manager, club, and Mesut Ozil, this could and should be managed to the benefit of both club and player, even with additional assurances if necessary.
No player is bigger than the club but Arsenal stumbled on a unique and emerging talent at a bewilderingly low price. He has all the attributes to take the Premier League by storm and help re-establish Arsenal as a credible force in football. To let Martinelli go without seeing the best of him would be nothing short of a crime.