Michael Owen believes Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will look to build his Gunners team around the likes of Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal have struggled in the Premier League this season, sitting only just inside the top half of the table after 34 games.
Their only hope of silverware this season, as well as their best chance of qualifying for Europe, now rests on this Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.
However, there have been some real positives this season too, namely Bukayo Saka’s continued progress and Emile Smith Rowe’s breakthrough.
Martinelli, meanwhile, shone last season and, though he hasn’t had much game time this term, Arteta gave him a start against Newcastle, where he did incredibly well.
Deployed on the left flank, the 19-year-old was a threat from the first minute, giving Jacob Murphy a torrid time throughout the 90 minutes.
Martinelli also contributed an exquisite assist for Aubameyang at the back post, the striker volleying home his first goal since March 6.
Speaking after the win, Owen told Premier League Productions (via The Express): “They’ve got a lot of good young players haven’t they Arsenal.
“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.
“[Martinelli] has played centrally so he knows that’s what you prefer as a centre-forward. It was a brilliant ball to round it off.”
When asked if having Martinelli fully fit for next season would be like a new signing, Owen said: “I think so.
“I think Mikel Arteta is going to start building his team now around some of these young players.”
While Arsenal’s season has been disappointing to say the least – unless of course they win the Europa League – the likes of Saka and Smith Rowe have given fans something to smile about.
Over the past few months, supporters have urged Arteta to give Martinelli more game time, and at the weekend the Spaniard was rewarded with an exciting performance.
If Owen’s theory is correct, that is Arteta plans to build the team around Martinelli and his fellow young stars, then it’ll be welcomed by the Arsenal faithful.