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TBR View: Arsenal ace Martinelli could be set for new squad number

Could Arsenal player Gabriel Martinelli be set for a number change next season?

What’s the story?

That seems to be the question on most people’s lips after yesterday’s pre-season friendly with Watford.

The Gunners ran out comfortable victors as they won 4-1. However, it was a shirt number that got everyone talking.

Miguel Azeez appeared as a second-half substitute and scored the fourth and final goal with a brilliant curling effort. And he did it all while wearing the number 35 jersey.

Martinelli has held that number since he arrived in London for £6m from Ituano in 2019. However, he is currently away with Brazil at the Tokyo Olympics.

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He wouldn’t be the first player to switch numbers this summer. Emile Smith Rowe was given the famous number 10 after signing a new long-term contract earlier in the month.

The number eight shirt is available after Dani Ceballos’s return to Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Lucas Torreira could yet leave the club, vacating the number 11.

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New number would suggest more prominent role

The Brazil youth international played a bit-part role last season following his return from a hamstring injury. He featured 23 times across all competitions, struggling to break into Mikel Arteta’s team.

However, a new number for Martinelli would suggest a more prominent role for Martinelli at Arsenal.

And it should excite the Emirates Stadium faithful.

Bukayo Saka and Smith Rowe carried the brunt of hope last season, making the South American a mere memory.

But, it is easy to forget just how promising Martinelli has been since his arrival. His tally of seven goals in his first 400 minutes of senior football in Europe was matched by none bar Ronaldo Nazario.

After frustration, Martinelli could be set for a heightened role next season, especially if Arsenal’s squad numbers are anything to go by.

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