Martin Odegaard is said to be perplexed by Mikel Arteta’s decision to limit Gabriel Martinelli’s game-time at Arsenal this season.
The Brazilian star was hailed as one of the signings of the season having joined the Gunners in a £6million deal in summer 2019. He scored 10 goals in just 23 appearances before injury cruelly ended his season. However, his form certainly caught the eye with Jurgen Klopp labelling him the ‘talent of the century’.
Since his return though, Martinelli has struggled to get into the Arsenal side. He has managed just 233 minutes of Premier League football this season. His stop-start season has yet to yield either a goal or an assist.
However, the Brazilian has a huge fan in Gunners loanee Odegaard. All the talk at Arsenal is whether technical director Edu can convince Real Madrid to sell them the Norwegian. Indeed, a recent report has indicated that the on-loan Arsenal playmaker has indicated where he wishes to be playing his football next season.
If Arsenal are to sign Odegaard though, they could likely make him happier by selecting Martinelli alongside him more. Indeed, Odegaard admitted last month that he was blown away by the 19-year-old attacker’s quality.
Sharing Odegaard’s opinion of him, pundit Martin Keown told talkSPORT there’s confusion at Arsenal over his treatment.
“He has a youngster Martinelli,” Keown said. “Odegaard has been in a Real Madrid dressing room and has said he’s the best young player he has seen in years. He doesn’t actually play for Arsenal, he just trains. Surely it is time to give him a game.”
Arteta on Martinelli situation
With Arsenal seemingly destined for a mid-table finish, it does seem odd that Martinelli isn’t afforded more chances.
Despite his lack of action, Arteta did appear ready to offer him a chance when questioned in February.
After picking up an injury in the summer, the young striker has been unable to build up continuity after his impressive debut season.
Arteta said of the Brazilian’s lack of involvement: “Well, he came back, he did really well and then he picked up another injury.
“It took him a while to come back. And now it’s about getting the rhythm and earning his place in the team like anybody else and when he has the opportunities.
“Don’t forget we played him. Last time against Manchester United he started ahead of other players. So it’s not that he’s not having the opportunities.”