Paul Merson: Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli can be like a £50m new signing

Paul Merson feels that Gabriel Martinelli has the talent required to be a top star for Arsenal in the years to come

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Gabriel Martinelli can be like a “new signing” for Arsenal if he can stay fit, according to Paul Merson.

The young Brazilian has been earning lots of praise for his excellent performances for the Gunners in recent games after having broken into the first team following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exile.

Martinelli has scored four goals and made two assists in 11 Premier League games this season and he has netted three times in his last three outings in all competitions.

He came on to play the final 17 minutes as Arsenal secured a thumping 5-1 victory over Sunderland at The Emirates to book their spot in the League Cup semi-finals on Tuesday night.

Former Arsenal star Merson believes that the stage could be set for Martinelli to shine for the Gunners – but his impact will depend on whether he can stay fit for the north London side.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson said: “Martinelli is a very special talent. I like him, but the question is: how long is he going to be fit for? If he can maintain his fitness, Arsenal have got a new signing – a £50m player.

“On top of that there’s Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard is starting to look like the decent player he was meant to be when he arrived at Arsenal, Thomas Partey is starting to play now.

“Arsenal are starting to look decent but, as I say, they are still a bag of Revels, you put your hand in and you’re never sure what you’re going to get!

“They got beat at Old Trafford and Goodison Park, Manchester United and Everton didn’t play well those two games, they weren’t, they just beat Arsenal. The problem with Arsenal is consistency, that has been their problem for the last 10 years.

“They will put in some good performances, we’ve just seen that against Southampton, West Ham and Leeds, and they have a chance of finishing in the top four because they are not in Europe and play just once a week.”

Merson added: “Arsenal do deserve credit for being in the mix, as long as they carry on beating the teams beneath them they have a chance. If they lose against any of the big three it won’t make a difference because none of the other teams vying for fourth will beat the big three.”

Meanwhile, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted that the club are doing everything they can to convince youngster Eddie Nketiah to sign a new contract.

The 22-year-old – who impressed as he scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s win over Sunderland on Tuesday night – is out of contract in the summer and is yet to commit his future to the north London side.

Asked whether Nketiah could still stay and sign a new deal, Arteta said after Tuesday’s win: “We are trying.

“It’s not about anything else but minutes. He wants game-time, he wants to be on that field and that is the only reason to say, ‘Can I do it here?’ That’s the question. We all want him to stay.”

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