Gabriel Martinelli has emerged as a glinted diamond for Arsenal, dazzling as a star figure in the club’s soaring season and receiving an international call-up ahead of Brazil’s World Cup campaign.
Indeed, once an uncut gem, he is shaping into the mould that any manager would dream of, repaying boss Mikel Arteta’s faith with scores of sublime showings, and now Brazil manager Tite must offer the 21-year-old the stage in Qatar.
The record five-time World Cup champions brim to the lid with the abundance of talent they possess, but Martinelli stakes a claim for a chance on the pitch to impress, despite facing positional competition from the likes of Neymar Jr., Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo.
And with international football’s premier competition just around the corner, Arsenal will be scrambling to tie their man down to a new deal with his current deal expiring in 2024, and promising talks are reportedly underway.
The South American star arrived in north London as an 18-year-old prospect, signing for Arsenal for just £6m after departing Brazilian outfit Ituano, and the Gunners hierarchy will be delighted at the progress made in just three years.
They have certainly hit the jackpot with the arrival of the once-unknown prodigy.
Just three years in, Martinelli has increased his market value tenfold, now regarded as a €60m (£52m) asset by leading outlet Transfermarkt, with that projected number possibly increasing further in the near future.
Last week, he told reporters at Arsenal’s pre-Zurich press conference that he wanted to stay, saying: “I want to stay, they just need to give me a pen!”
Should Arsenal be successful in penning a new deal for their starlet, they will have one of Europe’s hottest commodities for years to come, with a seismic fee likely the only way to prise him away from the Emirates Stadium.
Presented with an impressive seasonal rating of 7.18/10 by SofaScore, Martinelli has been an integral part of the unit, offering direct firepower and effective auxiliary equally, and with five goals and two assists already this term he is proving a prolific player indeed.
His 2.5 shots per game and five big chances created are further testaments to his brilliant approach to his game, with his flair and guile merging seamlessly with a desire to impact the match with direct contributions.
Equally, his defensive work must not go unmissed, with FBref ranking the £90k-per-week ace within the top 20% of positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues for interceptions and clearances, and the top 19% for blocks, which highlights a well-rounded toolkit that is only sharpening and refining as the player continues to clasp his potential firmly with both hands.
Earlier this year, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp heaped extraordinary praise on the ace by labelling him “a talent of the century”, a claim that would have had some scoff and turn their heads, but a claim that Martinelli adds a layer of depth to with each passing month.
To say that Arsenal’s £6m fee for the young Brazilian was a steal would almost detract from the meteoric rise itself. Martinelli is still just 21 years old, set to star at his first World Cup, and very much at the centre of the Gunners’ enticing project, with further success possibly emerging before the end of the season.