Michael Owen explains why Gabriel Martinelli is ‘like a new signing’ for Arsenal

Newcastle v Arsenal: Match in pictures

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will almost have a “new signing” on his hands with Gabriel Martinelli next season, claims former England striker Michael Owen. Martinelli made just his fifth start of 2021 in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park. The Brazilian set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a fine assist to seal the win.

Martinelli burst onto the scene at Arsenal following his £6million arrival from Ituano in the summer of 2019.

His performances captured the imagination of supporters until he suffered an ankle injury which ruled him out of the second half of 2020.

Martinelli appears to be back to his top fitness and Owen expects big things from him heading into next season.

“They’ve got a lot of good young players haven’t they Arsenal,” Owen told Premier League Productions.

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“I like these players that actually find half a yard and cross it early. As a centre-forward, that’s exactly what you want.

“I hate players that go to cross, cut back, then cut back again and you don’t know when to run.

“But you see, first-time crosses, the defence can’t get set, goalkeeper can’t get set properly.

“He’s played centrally so he knows that’s what you prefer as a centre-forward. It was a brilliant ball to round it off.

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“I think so [he could be like a new signing]. I think Mikel Arteta is going to start building his team now around some of these young players.”

Arteta was full of praise for Martinelli after Sunday’s win and defended the lack of minutes he has got this season.

“I think they all played really well and Gabi is improving every week,” Arteta said.

“He’s taking his minutes in the right way and he’s developing the way we all believe he can.

“Today he had an assist, which was an important moment, and he had some good moments off the left – and also trying to play as a No 9 as well.

“Just look at how much he’s played in the last few years. Then how much he’s played with me when he’s available. Then we can discuss that. It’s what happens.

“This debate is always happening when you don’t win. If it’s not him, it will be someone else.

“If it’s not Gabi, it will be [Alexandre] Lacazette, Willian or [Nicolas] Pepe. It’s part of it.”

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