Gabriel Martinelli remains on the outside of Mikel Arteta’s plans, struggling for game time at the Emirates Stadium.
There were high hopes for the young Brazilian when he arrived on a deal worth more than £6million from Ituano in 2019, and those high hopes remain, but Gunners fans are not seeing much of the winger.
The best part of two years on from his arrival, Martinelli, who is still only 19 years of age, is still struggling for first-team appearances, making only eight appearances across all competitions so far this season.
But there is some hope for Martinelli as he looks to break through with Mikel Arteta hinting his time will come ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos.
“If anything it’s my fault,” he said. “He’s done everything perfectly, he trains incredibly well every day, and his attitude couldn’t be better.
“He’s really disappointed that he’s not playing more obviously, and I have spoke to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient. He had some minutes, he had some games as well, and it’s true that the competition for the front places is very tough.
“He needs to be patient, and he will get his chance.”
Patience is something Martinelli was braced for upon his arrival at Arsenal, he said in 2019: “For now, though, I’m just focused on making more Premier League appearances.
“As it’s my first season, I want to show my potential to steady myself at the first team.
“I know the squad is packed with great players, but I know what I can do and my goal is to help the team.”
But that was more than 18 months ago and little has changed since, despite some impressive performances from Martinelli to help the Gunners pull themselves out of a difficult start to the season.
At some point, the 19-year-old is going to want assurances over more football, particularly ahead of next season when he may feel he is better served spending time away on loan if he is going to see limited action, as he has so far this term.
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Martinelli is still young and regular minutes will be important for his development, and Arteta doesn’t seem to be helping with that, the Gunners manager feeling he has better options elsewhere.
The big test could be this evening with Arsenal in a position to make changes having won 3-1 in the away leg over Olympiacos, taking a commanding lead in the tie.
If Martinelli is once again overlooked on a night when Arteta reasonably could rotate without putting a result at risk, that could be the ultimate test of the Brazilian’s patience as he considers his best path for next season.