Gabriel Martinelli’s latest training videos just might have moved him a step closer to emulating former Real Madrid and Brazil striker Ronaldo.
The 19-year-old burst on the scene last season following his £6m move from Ituano in the 2019 summer transfer window, netting 10 goals across all competitions – including goals away at Liverpool and Chelsea.
However, Martinelli’s debut campaign in English football ended prematurely because of a knee injury that required surgery and has been used sparingly by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta so far this term.
Having been left out of the matchday squad for last weekend’s north London derby win over Tottenham Hotspur, it’s now seven Premier League games in a row without an appearance for the Brazilian.
As a result, he has been working hard in training to prove himself to Arteta, whilst also dropping a hint over a possible positional change.
On Tuesday afternoon – ahead of the Europa League last-16 second-leg tie against Olympiacos – Martinelli posted a number of videos on social media from an individual session at London Colney.
And he was working on his striking prowess.
The biggest takeaway from the clip was that Martinelli was operating as a centre-forward instead of a left-winger which means Arteta’s long-term plan for the teenager may already be underway.
After what Martinelli did in training, a permanent positional change could see Arteta discover Arsenal’s own Ronaldo.
Former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell made the comparison between the two Brazilians earlier in the season, stating that Martinelli reminds him of the former Real Madrid and Barcelona superstar.
“I think Martinelli is the one, I really do,” Campbell told Football Insider. “Martinelli was sensational when he came in last season.
“He is a real handful – strong, direct and reminds me of the Brazilian Ronaldo.
“Players tend to get long-term injuries and then come back and pick a niggle up somewhere else.
“He will need time to get back into the swing of things.”
If Martinelli can emulate what Ronaldo did at club level for the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Barcelona as well as Brazil at the 2002 World Cup then the Gunners already have the perfect replacement for Alexandre Lacazette who looks set for an exit this summer.
Mikel Arteta explains lack of minutes for Gabriel Martinelli at Arsenal and what will happen next
Gabriel Martinelli trains “incredibly well” and will eventually “get his chance” at Arsenal according to manager Mikel Arteta.
The 19-year-old Brazilian forward emerged as a key player last season, scoring ten goals in all competitions in his breakthrough campaign.
He suffered a serious injury last June and returned to action for the Gunners in December, but has since been restricted to mostly cameo appearances off the bench.
Clearly eager to show how hard he is working in training, Martinelli posted a number of videos on social media from an individual session he took part in on Tuesday afternoon.
Arteta made it clear that Martinelli’s application in training cannot be questioned, but suggested that the competition for places in attack has made it difficult to give him minutes over the past few weeks.
“If anything it’s my fault,” said Arteta in his pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie against Olympiacos.
“He’s done everything perfect. He trains incredibly well every day. His attitude couldn’t be better.
“He’s really disappointed that he’s not playing more obviously having spoken to him, but he needs to be a little bit patient.”
Martinelli will be hopeful of featuring in some capacity against Olympiacos on Thursday night, with Arsenal currently in a strong position and 3-1 up on aggregate against the Greek champions.
“He’s had some minutes and games as well,” said Arteta.
“It’s true that the competition for the front positions is very tough.
“He needs to be patient and he will get his chance.”