Mikel Arteta's stern warning to Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal target £22m alternative
Mikel Arteta insists Gabriel Martinelli will need to earn his playing time as Arsenal target Goncalo Guedes.
The Gunners have been linked with the Valencia striker, who is valued at around £22.5million, according to Fichajes.
The Portuguese star, who has two years left on his current deal, has yet to agree a contract extension with the Spanish side and his impressive start to the season has reportedly attracted attention from Mikel Arteta's men.
Arsenal fans had hoped that Martinelli would be a regular in the starting XI this term, but it's not panned out that way as he finds himself on the periphery of Arteta's side.
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But since then he has not featured in the league, only in Arsenal's Carabao Cup wins over West Brom and AFC Wimbledon.
It seemed a no-brainer that he would be thrown on at the end of the Gunners' stalemate with Brighton at the weekend, however, after Bukayo Saka went off with a knock as the visitors looked for a winner.
But Arteta opted to call on Ainsley-Maitland Niles instead as he went for the more defensive choice.
That decision would indicate that Martinelli is far down the Spaniard's pecking order and that he is not a part of his immediate plans.
Arteta has previously warned the Brazilian that he will need to earn his minutes despite his willingness to give Arsenal's youngsters a chance in the first team.
He said after Arsenal's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace in which Martinelli scored: “I know that we want to play with 11 academy players under 20, but guys, who is doing that?"
“We are doing more than anybody and they are going to have the chances, they are earning their chances, it’s not like we are giving [away] the chances.
“They are earning the chances and it’s a joy to have them with us.”
Arsenal's links with Guedes, Ollie Watkins and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as they look for a new striker to replace Alexandre Lacazette certainly don't help matters either.
But Martinelli could be given a chance to stake his claim in January when Arsenal are set to lose up to four players with the Africa Cup of Nations.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe will represent their countries which could open the door for the forward.