Mikel Arteta must change his mind on Gabriel Martinelli’s Arsenal future in January

Arsenal: Arteta urges caution over Martinelli's development

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must change his mind on the future of Gabriel Martinelli. Brazilian forward Martinelli started the first two Premier League games of the season against Brentford and Chelsea. But that was largely due to the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who both had tested positive for coronavirus.

Martinelli has not started since in the league and made just two substitute appearances.

He was in the starting XI for two of the three Carabao Cup matches, including the 2-0 win over Leeds in the fourth round on Tuesday.

However, the 20-year-old has been unable to reach the form which caused so much excitement among Arsenal supporters after he joined the club in 2019.

Martinelli played his best football under Unai Emery, scoring seven goals in his first seven appearances.

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But he has netted just five times since in a Gunners shirt.

Injuries have undoubtedly had an effect on Martinelli’s career so far.

He missed the second half of 2020 after suffering a knee injury.

He also missed a couple of matches in January this year just after earning his spot back in the side.

Martinelli is now fully fit but it wouldn’t be out of place to say his career has stagnated at the Emirates.

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Many Arsenal fans still want to see more of Martinelli in action but some have begun to question the clear lack of progression.

Earlier this month, Arteta ruled out Martinelli leaving on loan in January.

“No, I’m very happy with him,” Arteta said.

“We’re not thinking of anything like that.”

However, it may be best for Martinelli to spend regular game time elsewhere.

Emile Smith Rowe is a fine example of a player who returned from a loan spell a far better player.

Smith Rowe had an unsuccessful time at RB Leipzig but it was the second-half of the 2019/20 campaign at Huddersfield where he flourished.

The 21-year-old is now a nailed-on starter for Arteta in his best XI.

Arteta has also recently pointed out the competition Martinelli faces in the attacking areas.

That is true – he is unlikely to get in ahead of Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette anytime soon.

Nicolas Pepe has had a poor start to the season but seems to also be ahead in Arteta’s pecking order.

If those players remain fit heading into January, then allowing Martinelli to go out on loan could be one of the best decisions Arteta makes.

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