Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed Gabriel Martinelli is closing-in on a return to action after stepping-up his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Martinelli hasn’t featured for Arsenal’s first team since March after suffering the injury in training just before football returned in June following the enforced break.
The Brazilian youngster has been making good progress in his rehabilitation at London Colney in recent months and returned to the field with a 45 minute run out for the U23s last week.
The 19-year-old is now back in full training with the rest of the squad and although this weekend’s trip to Everton will come too soon, Arteta has confirmed Martinelli is ‘very close’ to being available for selection.
And based on the comments from the boss today, Arteta cannot wait to have the teenage attacker at his disposal again.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Goodison Park, Arteta is quoted by the Mirror as saying:
“Gabriel Martinelli is very close to being available and fit to be part of us as well, which is great news.”
“Gabi is pure enthusiasm, energy, belief, charisma and goals. And this is him. He’s around the training ground and he’s around our training sessions and the energy is different because he goes 100 miles per hour.
“He’s got this passion and his way of playing and he is a threat. He’s a player that we’ve been missing because he brings something special to the team.
“He’s contagious with his attitude and I think it’s going to be a big boost when we have him.”
It’s going to be a huge boost to have Martinelli back in the team as he was becoming a key player for Arsenal before his injury having scored 10 goals in his 26 appearances in all competitions. His energy is something we’ve been missing in attack so I cannot wait for him to be back.
Unfortunately, he won’t be available against Everton tomorrow and Arteta will also have to make-do without three of his most important players for the trip to Merseyside.
Thomas Partey remains out with a thigh injury while Granit Xhaka serves the second game of his three-match suspension. Gabriel will also be banned after being sent off against Southampton so we’ll have to make a change in defence.
Hector Bellerin is available again after serving his one-match ban so it will be interesting to see whether he’ll be given an immediate recall as Ainsley Maitland-Niles did pretty well on Tuesday night.
We head to Goodison Park in desperate need of a positive result following a disastrous start to the season so let’s hope the boys can bring home at least a point.