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'Not easy': Theo Walcott blown away by what 21-year-old Arsenal gem has done
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

'Not easy': Theo Walcott blown away by what 21-year-old Arsenal gem has done

Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli has earned praise from Theo Walcott on talkSPORT.

The Emirates Stadium cult hero says he’s been a fan of the 21-year-old Gunners ace “from day one”.

Walcott loves how Martinelli has already made it into the Brazil squad for the World Cup, something that’s “not easy to achieve”.

After Arsenal signed the forward for just £6million, it quickly became clear that he was a future star.

In his maiden season at Arsenal, Martinelli became the first teenager to score 10 goals in a single season since Nicolas Anelka in 1998-99.

He then fell out of favour somewhat, with Mikel Arteta preferring to let him develop at his own pace.

Much like with William Saliba, the manager copped some criticism for not playing Martinelli regularly.

However, Arteta knew what he was doing. And now, Martinelli is a bona fide first-team ready, world-class player.

The Gunners gem has registered five goals and two assists in 14 Premier League appearances for his team so far this season.

Martinelli has also made three starts and two substitute appearances in the Europa League in 2022-23.

His efforts saw him make the Brazil squad for Qatar 2022 ahead of the likes of Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.

Walcott, speaking about Martinelli on talkSPORT (15/11/22, 9:07am), said:  “Martinelli, with whom I have been impressed him from day one.

“He had a big injury when he first came, but he has obviously got into that Brazilian squad, and that is not easy. So you have got to give credit to him.”

‘Just need to get a pen’

Martinelli contract runs until 2024, though Arsenal have an option to extend it to 2026.

However, the Gunners seem keen on rewarding him with a bumper new contract.

Martinelli recently expressed his desire to commit his future to the club.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Speaking to the media ahead of the Europa League clash with FC Zurich, he said: “I’m very happy at Arsenal.

“I said it many times, this is my club, I love to be here, I love the city, I love the club, I love everything about Arsenal.

“I want to stay, I’m very happy – I just need to get a pen!”

‘Really optimistic’

Romano has recently reported that in ‘the next days and weeks’, Arsenal will push to get the deal sorted.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said: “With Gabriel Martinelli, they are pushing and pushing again in the next days and weeks.

“They are really optimistic, also Martinelli [is too].

“The contract of Martinelli is until 2024. I’m told there is an option to extend the contract for a further season.

“So Arsenal feel relaxed on this Martinelli story, but they want to give him an improved contract.

“So they are discussing also with Martinelli, with his agents.

“We have a lot of stories on other clubs, but Martinelli is happy with Arsenal.

“And of course, winning games is really important because all these players are tempted by staying [in the] long term with the Arsenal project.”

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