Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas has raved about Gabriel Martinelli, saying “the potential is there” for the “ruthless” forward to eventually take over from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Sporting Life).
The 18-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Brazilian side Ituano FC last summer for £6million, has thoroughly impressed at the North London club since his arrival.
With 10 goals and four assists from 26 Gunners appearances, he has become the first teenage goalscorer to reach double figures for Arsenal since Nicolas Anelka in 1998-99.
Indeed, Martinelli has already been linked to Real Madrid, the Daily Mail claiming the Bernabeu side was interested in him during the January transfer window.
However, Arsenal aren’t likely to entertain offers for Martinelli any time soon, given he is reported to have “stunned” his coaches, who believe the versatile forward could be a future superstar (Daily Star).
When asked about which current Arsenal player could replace Aubameyang, Nicholas told Sporting Life: “Eddie Nketiah runs off the ball into space, and is a very good finisher. Martinelli does have the potential too. The signs with him are pretty similar.
“He is young, but that does not matter. If people look at how he finishes, you can see a cool and clinical aspect. Jurgen Klopp was raving about him for a reason. He is ruthless. The potential is there, but will not reach Aubameyang’s level yet.”
Despite not turning 19 until June, Martinelli has proven he’s a cut above and has been one of Arsenal’s most impressive performers this season.
To be linked with Real Madrid despite having only been on showcase at his new club for half a season speaks volumes as to how much talent and potential he has.
Nicholas is right to urge caution over putting too much pressure on him to take over from Aubameyang were the Gabon ace to leave this summer, but at the same time, there’s no denying he seems to be a world-class star in the making.