Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was quizzed about his reluctance to hand more minutes to Gabriel Martinelli in the Premier League.
The little Brazilian is a fan favourite at the Emirates. Every single supporter wants to see him play every game, but sadly, Martinelli has had to settle for a spot on the bench more often than not.
The 20-year-old started each of our first two games in the Premier League this season. However, he hasn’t played a minute in the competition since, and some fans on social media are debating if he should be sent out on loan.
Arteta was asked why Martinelli hasn’t played recently and the Arsenal boss put it down to the competition for places. However, he dismissed the idea of sending him out on loan in January.
Mikel Arteta: Gabriel Martinelli will not go out on loan
Asked why he hasn’t been playing, Arteta said, as per Arsenal.com: “Well, because of the amount of players we have in those positions. First of all, he had some games that he played. He started against Brentford and he started against Chelsea as well.
“Unfortunately, he got injured last week – it’s a minor injury and we don’t know if he’s going to be available for Monday. We have a lot of options with Gabi and we need to find the right space for him to grow within the squad. If you look at the number of games that he’s played, the injuries he’s suffered have been big setbacks.
“We sometimes forget his age, what he’s done and where he is. We need to try to help him to maintain that balance because you know you can generate frustration that, in my opinion, comes out of a not very realistic diagnosis. You need time to do that.”
Asked if Arsenal are planning on sending him out on loan, Arteta said: “I’m very happy with him. We’re not thinking about anything like that.”
The Insider’s View:
There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind about Martinelli’s quality. He is among the best young players in world football and if he can get regular game time, he will surely have a positive impact on the side.
However, the little Brazilian has had a lot of injuries to deal with. He missed a big chunk of the campaign last term and it looks like he has picked up another niggle which will keep him out of the game against Crystal Palace on Monday.
To make things worse, Martinelli has Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and even Emile Smith Rowe to compete with in attack.
That pushes him down the pecking order and that’s the reason why he hasn’t played a lot. Sending him out on loan is an interesting idea, but keeping hold of him makes more sense as he’ll learn a lot more here under Arteta than he will elsewhere.