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Arteta: Martinelli has ‘a lot to improve’ as Arsenal look to build future


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants to build around the likes of Gabriel Martinelli after the striker signed a new deal with the club.

Martinelli has agreed to a new long-term contract that will reportedly run until the end of the 2026/27 season.

The 21-year-old, who signed for Arsenal in July 2019, has started in every Premier League game this season and has scored seven times in the race for top-flight leaders who will travel to triumphant Everton on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka is another youth thriving under Arteta who sees plenty of room for improvement as the Gunners seek to build a dynasty with such talent.

“This is great news. We want to use all the talent that we have in the team,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

“It’s nice to see them happy and committed to the club. He is a player with great potential, who has room to improve.

“He can develop physically, mentally, defensively, the space he occupies, consistency.”

Asked if Saka and William Saliba, who performed well in Arsenal’s defense after loan spells at Marseille and Nice respectively, were close to signing new contracts, Arteta added: “Part of the plan is to extend the contract with our most talented players. We are trying to do it.

“The rest will be done when we can. I can see that everyone is very happy and ready to continue working at the club.”

In January, Arsenal wanted to hire two more high-ranked young players but were unable to secure contracts for Mikhail Mudrik or Moises Caicedo.

Mudrik joined London rivals Chelsea for £89m (€100m), while Brighton & Hove Albion turned down two offers for Caicedo.

The Gunners have indeed brought in Leandro Trossar, Jakub Kivior and Jorginho, with the latter set to add vital experience in their quest to claim their first league title since 2004.

“We knew that in this market, you have to adapt, be flexible and ready for inconvenience,” Arteta said of Jorginho.

“We had a big [Mohamed Elneny’s] injury and we needed a player in that position. [Jorginho] a player I have always admired. He is a great character who will bring leadership and quality to this position and he will help us a lot.”

Jorginho could make his debut against Everton and Thomas Partey is hesitant due to an injury he sustained in the FA Cup clash with Manchester City last week.

“We’ll see, it’s still in doubt,” Arteta said. “Let’s see how he comes today and whether he can train or not. We will make a decision about it.

“He’s not out and there’s nothing particularly big about it, but it was enough to take him out of the game, which is a bit unusual for Thomas, but hopefully he’ll be fine.”

Arsenal have not won at Goodison Park since October 2017 when they beat the Toffees 5-2.

Saturday will be Sean Dyche’s first game for Everton, who are 19th on 15 points, with Southampton trailing them.

Dyche lost 10 Premier League games to Arsenal while in charge of Burnley and, if the Gunners win, they will become the first team in English league history to score 100 victories against a single opponent.


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