Football News

Arsenal rising star Gabriel Martinelli is Mikel Arteta’s new Sterling project, says Martin Keown

By Ben Green

Published: 17:42, 28 January 2020

Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes Mikel Arteta can develop Gabriel Martinelli in a similar way he did Raheem Sterling during his Manchester City coaching days.

The current Arsenal boss formerly worked as assistant to Pep Guardiola at City before moving to the Emirates last month and, since then, Martinelli has really come into his own.

Can Arteta mould Martinelli into a Sterling-esque forward? Five things to know…

  • Arteta joined the City backroom staff upon the arrival of Guardiola in 2016.
  • Sterling joined City from Liverpool the previous year, but under Arteta’s watch, he transformed into a goalscoring machine.
  • Keown now believes Arteta can develop Martinelli in a similar fashion.
  • The Brazilian has been in scintillating form this term, becoming the first Arsenal teenager since Nicolas Anelka to score 10 goals during a single season.
  • Martinelli has been directly involved in 12 goals across his previous 12 starts for the Gunners.

The 18-year-old was plucked from relative obscurity in Brazil over the summer, but has since proven a revelation on these shores, netting double digits across his maiden campaign in an Arsenal shirt.

Martinelli has been particularly impressive under Arteta, scoring twice and assisting once in his last three matches, including the winner against Sheffield United and that mesmerising solo run and finish against Chelsea.

Arsenal fans have been purring at the prospect of Martinelli becoming the latest Brazilian phenom to grace north London, and Keown believes the youngster can reach Sterling-esque levels if mentored accordingly.

“The last player Arteta will have worked with in that position would have been Sterling and you saw the improvement of Sterling, so it’s going to be a joy to watch this fella improve because of his starting position,” the ex-Arsenal defender told BT Sport.

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“This is where he is now rather than the bottom rung, 18 years of age. I just feel that this player is so mature for someone so young.

“He’s 18 years of age and we mustn’t forget that. If you look at his vision. Everything he’s linking really well, taking on board this new message of give-and-go. He’s always on the move, he’s a nightmare to pick up and Bournemouth just couldn’t get near him.”