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Three’s a crowd: Arsenal’s Martinelli swoop could mark the end of Gunners partnership – opinion

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Any Arsenal supporters begging for the club to make a signing may have to be careful what they wish for in future if Gabriel Martinelli’s signing turns out to be more than it seems.

If we are led to believe that Arsenal’s transfer budget truly is limited at £40m, then their capture of Brazilian teenager Martinelli for around £6m (according to TransferMarkt) suggests that any pursuit of Wilfried Zaha, Celtic’s Kieran Tierney or French teenager William Saliba would likely be subject to outgoings if The Gunners are set to secure more than one of their reported targets.

And considering that their attack was the least of their worries last season, the signing of Martinelli and the timing of it suggests that perhaps an attacking departure is imminent at The Emirates.

Why Arsenal would feel the need to sell either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the seasons they had – in which the latter secured the Golden Boot while the former was named Player of the Season – is baffling, although there is unlikely to be many other candidates within the Arsenal squad to warrant the lofty fees as their strike duo might.

Even more intriguing would be working out why Arsenal would decide, in times of relative financial ruin, to waste a sizable chunk on a kid in a position which arguably was not crying out to be strengthened – unlike the defence which often cost The Gunners points last season when Aubameyang or Lacazette were unable to bail them out.

For the ends to justify the means, implementing Martinelli into the first team squad – either as backup to a lone striker or a potential bargain replacement for one of the front two – could require one of Arsenal’s main hitmen from last season to abandon ship.

A signing for the future he may be, but for Arsenal to fulfil their needs for the immediate season ahead, wouldn’t their failure to secure Champions League football have meant missing out on the luxury of planning for the future without a solid team base already in place?

Logic points towards a major outgoing if Arsenal are to fund the rebuild that the side desperately needs after a dismal end to the last campaign.

With funds at such a premium this summer, it would it difficult for Unai Emery to justify bringing in the youngster if he was not to play a major role in the Gunners attack next year.

Doing that in competition with both Lacazette and Aubameyang seems unlikely (unless Martinelli turns out to be the new Ronaldo, of course) – so perhaps it’s time Arsenal fans braced themselves for a bombshell departure – the only question being which star striker will be packing his bags.

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