Martinelli 'very close' to Arsenal return, says Arteta

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Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli

London [UK], December 19 (ANI): Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on Saturday said forward Gabriel Martinelli is 'very close' to returning to the first-team fold.

The 19-year-old forward has not featured since March after suffering a serious knee injury but recently made his comeback for the club's U-21s.

"Gabriel Martinelli is very close to being available and fit to be part of us as well, which is great news. Gabi is pure enthusiasm, energy, belief, charisma and goals. And this is him," quoted Arteta as saying ahead of the trip to Everton.

Arteta further added that Martinelli has provided a fresh injection of energy and enthusiasm in training and it will be a 'big boost' to the side when he comes in.

"He's around the training ground and he's around our training sessions and the energy is different because he goes 100 miles per hour. He's got this passion in his way of playing and he is a threat. He's a player that we've been missing because he brings something special to the team. He's contagious with his attitude and I think it's going to be a big boost when we have him," he added.

Martinelli made his mark in 2019-20 with six goals in the Premier League and Europa League, including one particularly memorable individual effort against Chelsea.

In July this year, he signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium which will reportedly keep him at the club until 2024. Arsenal is at 15th place in the Premier League standings with 14 points in 13 games and will play against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday night. (ANI)