Premier League • England

Change in Arsenal system a ‘possibility’ as ‘unplayable’ star tipped to compete with Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus of Brazil

One pundit reckons Mikel Arteta could shift his attacking options around in the future by putting Gabriel Martinelli up front – in direct competition with Gabriel Jesus.

Martinelli is very highly rated at Arsenal but has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. He managed to stay fit last season though and registered six goals, as well as seven assists, during 36 appearances.

The Brazilian appears to be Arteta’s best option on the left wing. He works well with fellow attackers Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.

Martinelli could also form a deadly partnership with new Arsenal man Jesus – the duo are already Brazil team-mates.

Jesus has arrived to become the replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up top. But pundit Alan Smith thinks there is a ‘possibility’ Martinelli will be played as a striker in the future. And this could see Jesus end up on the bench.

“There were times towards the end of last season, playing on the left, when Martinelli was unplayable and a lot of people are wondering if he might be an option down the middle over the next few years,” Smith said (via the Daily Mirror).

“I think that’s a possibility and I’m sure it will be something Arteta looks at in training and in a few matches.

“We will have to wait and see on that one and he would have Jesus, [Eddie] Nketiah and [Folarin] Balogun as competition.

‘Tremendous talent’ Martinelli could rival Gabriel Jesus

“I do like him. He’s a bums-off-seats kind of player but the idea is to create a bigger squad so he can be rested and pulled from the team sometimes to sit on the bench. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Jesus will undoubtedly start next season as Arsenal’s first-choice striker. The Gunners have recently spent £45million to sign him from Manchester City.

Jesus has plenty of experience playing down the middle and is a serial winner. He won four league titles at City.

But Martinelli is developing into a top player himself and has most of the necessary attributes to emerge into a true number nine. This could give Arteta some thinking to do in the future.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have reportedly made a bid to sign a winger from Lille.