Arsenal at risk as Barcelona become ‘very attentive’ to permanent Arteta starter with World Cup watching brief

Arsenal forwards Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli

Barcelona could be preparing a bid for Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli for the summer of 2023 and have taken notes on the player at the World Cup, according to a report.

Martinelli has enjoyed a lot of responsibility in a strong Arsenal side this season. The Gunners are top of the Premier League after 14 matches, all of which he has started. He has scored five goals in the process, as well as providing two assists.

Consequently, Martinelli has gone on to play in three matches at the World Cup for Brazil so far. For a 21-year-old, things certainly seem to be on track.

In addition to his rising status on the international scene, Martinelli is becoming the subject of links with clubs who could give him the next step after Arsenal.

Last month, for example, there were claims that Paris Saint-Germain would be keeping an eye on him at the World Cup.

It appears they are not alone in their tracking of Martinelli. Indeed, a new report from Diario Sport has revealed Barcelona’s admiration of the Arsenal attacker.

According to Sport, Barcelona are “very attentive” to Martinelli. They have been watching him for Arsenal this season and have extended their mission into the World Cup.

Barcelona are “fully informed” about Martinelli’s situation, aware that by the summer, he could only have one year left on his contract. That said, Arsenal are working to renew his terms for a further four years.

If they do not manage to, though, Barcelona will be waiting to take advantage. The La Liga club already have a good relationship with Martinelli’s representatives.

Martinelli appeals to Barcelona because of his ability to cover all across the attack. He is mainly a left winger, but can operate more centrally. What’s more, the prospect of him being available at a relatively low price is inviting.

Arsenal stay makes more sense for Gabriel Martinelli

Across his Arsenal career, Martinelli has scored 23 goals from 104 appearances, while also providing 15 assists.

He was a shrewd signing for them as a teenager from Ituano back in 2019. In theory, they should be able to make a major profit when the time does come to cash in.

But given his current form and the wider impact he is having on their team, keeping him would be preferable. Therefore, they will be hoping that Barcelona’s interest amounts to nothing.

In their own attack, Barcelona already have Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres for the left wing, Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele for the right, and Robert Lewandowski and Memphis Depay centrally.

The latter is facing an uncertain future, though. Hence, there could be room for one more attacker in the star-studded squad.

There would be tough competition for Martinelli, who might be better off staying at Arsenal. There, he is practically guaranteed to start for Mikel Arteta. He could have even more responsibility in the next few weeks after an injury to compatriot Gabriel Jesus.

That said, extra competition might be arriving at the Emirates Stadium anyway in the shape of Shakhtar Donetsk starlet Mykhaylo Mudryk.

Even so, for now, Martinelli should be wanting to continue his Arsenal spell. Having more competition for his place could equip him well for a potential future move to Barcelona, but at this stage he should be viewing their interest as flattering rather than something he needs to turn into a transfer.

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