Arsenal invested a lot in the summer, bringing plenty of exciting players. The Gunners broke their club record by signing Nicolas Pepe for £72, acquired the services of a seasoned pro like David Luiz and secured a loan deal for Real Madrid’s promising midfielder Dani Ceballos.
The fans looked forward to seeing them in action but another player has been making his mark in the Premier League. Gabriel Martinelli had just turned 18 when he joined Arsenal from Ituano for the modest amount of £5 million last summer.
That’s nothing for today’s standards and not many have heard about the Brazilian who was instantly labeled “one for the future”.
Seven months later Martinelli is one of the most thrilling players in the English Premier League. The youngster just became the first teenager to score more than 10 goals for Arsenal in a single season since Nicolas Anelka.
I believe that the Brazilian forward will become a true star and here are the key attributes that will help him reach the top.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Gabriel Martinelli is an excellent finisher that can score with either foot or with his head, despite his limited height. His superb header against Vitoria in the Europa League is a proof for the latter.
The youngster has the composure and technique to find the net from all sorts of angles and situations. We saw that clearly against Chelsea when he had to run through two thirds of the pitch to equalize.
Everyone notices exceptional goals that require sublime individual skill or fierce shots outside the box. In reality, the top strikers in the world have plenty of “easy” goals because they expertly find the best positions.
It’s an instinctive skill that Martinelli certainly has. If you look at some of his goals in an Arsenal shirt, you will see how he is capable of finding space in the box for simple tap-ins. It’s a precious skill and one that every great forward has.
A lot of players from South America come with exceptional technique but don’t work hard enough without the ball. That’s not the case with Martinelli who’s asked to do a lot by Mikel Arteta and it was the same when Unai Emery was the manager.
Often, the youngster has to play on the left because the central striker position is reserved for Aubameyang or Lacazette. His role requires him to help the left-back and Martinelli has never refused to track back and put the effort.
He’s no shy of tackles either and can press relentlessly high up the pitch. That’s a sign of a player who’s willing to work hard for his team and I’m sure the same attitude is present on the training ground too.
It’s only natural of a player who has the skill and desire to be capable of playing in multiple positions on the pitch. Make no mistake, Gabriel Martinelli is a striker that is bound to make the central role in the attack his own someday.
However, he’s good enough and works hard enough to also make his mark in other positions. That’s the only way to earn regular playing time at a club like Arsenal at such a tender age.
Martinelli is willing and capable of playing anywhere in the front three which will give him many opportunities to start games and earn valuable experience at the highest level.
The previously unknown Brazilian certainly made a name for himself on the biggest stage of European football. The only thing left is to keep his head down, stay fit and work hard. I wish the youngster all the best and I firmly believe that we will be hearing about Gabriel Martinelli for many years.