Youngster Gabriel Martinelli has made a claim about the current Arsenal squad that is likely to cause mirth in the white half of north London.
The Gunners endured a below-par season by their previous standards, finishing eighth in the Premier League. They sat 15th in the standings on Boxing Day last year. Arsenal legend Paul Merson suggested at the time that they were in real danger of relegation to the Championship.
However, a decent January and superb May made sure that was out of the question and nudged them closer to the summit. The Emirates outfit ended up 25 points adrift of champions Manchester City and missed out on European football.
Mike Arteta’s job looked in jeopardy but the Spaniard clung on to his post. And he has set about building a squad capable of challenging the big boys once again.
There is every chance that more new faces will arrive. And a few stars are also expected to leave to fund the deals.
Martinelli’s place at the club is not thought to be under threat. The 20-year-old signed in 2019 and much is expected of the Brazilian.
He has dipped his toe in the water with 14 league appearances in each of the past two seasons. And the time may be right for the South American to make his mark on the English top flight.
He is certainly not short on confidence. But his assessment of where the current Arsenal side stands in the footballing pecking order may need a re-think.
“It’s a new team, with a new coach too, but already with experience and that, I consider it one of the best in the world already,” he told UOL (via The Mirror).
“We had good games at the end of the season, the players are confident, so we have to try to go down this same path, so we need to start the season well.”
Another youngster on radar to join Martinelli
Arteta is known to want more firepower up front. He has spent big on a defender and rumours persist he is now trying to land Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
It has been suggested that the Argentina international is open to the idea of joining the Gunners. However, Tottenham are also thought to hold an interest and could put a spanner in the works.