Arsenal starlet Gabriel Martinelli faces a period of time that could decide his future following the international break, after falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta
Less than two years ago, Arsenal‘s future hopes were laid on one young star’s shoulders.
The Brazilian scored 10 goals in 26 appearances during his breakout campaign but has since fallen out of favour under Mikel Arteta following a six-month knee injury lay-off in 2020, and he is now at a make or break point in north London.
Starring in behind-closed-doors friendlies – most recently a 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers – as opposed to Europa League matches, Martinelli’s stock has dropped significantly despite his undeniable talent.
With the Gunners having picked up their form following a dismal start to the season, the 20-year-old has been handed just one berth in the starting XI this term, the 3-0 League Cup win against Wimbledon.
Martinelli was omitted from Brazil‘s Under-21 squad for the current international break and is enjoying a holiday in Portugal, likely with the knowledge that the proceeding months are huge for his future at the Emirates.
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For all the issues Arsenal addressed in the summer transfer window with their six signings, the striking spot was left untouched.
The 32-year-old Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang still leads the line, while back-ups Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are currently set to become free agents in the summer due to their contracts expiring.
That means Martinelli could well have an opportunity to stake his claim before 2022 and assure the Gunners hierarchy that the future of their forward line remains based around the Sao Paolo-born starlet.
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But without European football in 21-22, minutes will be hard to come by for the Ituano academy product.
Arteta has already informed Martinelli of what he needs to do in order to keep himself in his manager’s good-books.
“He came back in [from injury in December 2020] and he had an impact but there were still a lot of things that we had to work on with him,” the Arsenal boss explained in April.
“He needs time. He is so willing and so anxious that it can block his development sometimes as well.
“Sometimes he won’t understand my decisions but the only reason I make those is to help him, so when he gets the chance to sprint, he can sprint and when he falls, he goes again.”
The Spaniard continued: “I want a long run with him, not just a short one and he’s in a better place now.”
But Arteta also pointed out Martinelli’s reaction to not being selected for Gunners matches must improve, something he has had to deal with on multiple occasions this term.
“There are a few things that have to be better and one of those is to manage when he doesn’t play,” he added.
“You have to know how to suffer when you are on the bench. You have to be able to swallow that, all your ego and anger, all your willingness to play the game.”