Football News

“He gives you no time whatsoever” – Emile Heskey urges Liverpool to sign “fantastic” Gabriel Martinelli

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:50, 14 October 2022

Emile Heskey has urged his former club Liverpool to sign Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli, dubbing the Brazilian a “fantastic player”.

Martinelli opened the scoring in Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Liverpool last weekend after just 58 seconds, the Gunners’ quickest goal in this fixture in the Premier League, and added an assist in the dying seconds of the first half. The Brazilian also became the youngest Arsenal player to score and assist against Liverpool in the Premier League.

Gabriel Martinelli news: A target for Liverpool?

Martinelli’s danger was known by Liverpool before the game, with Reds manager Jurgen Klopp always speaking highly of the Brazilian. In 2019, Klopp called Martinelli the talent of the century and earlier this year praised Trent Alexander-Arnold for keeping the Brazilian quiet in a 2-0 win for Liverpool over Arsenal – using that performance as an example of what his full-back can do defensively.

But on Sunday Martinelli gave Alexander-Arnold a torrid time and there will have been some part of the Englishman grateful to come off at half-time through injury. A player at the top of his game right now, while also having a long time to enhance his level, Martinelli will no doubt be on the watchlist for a number of clubs hopeful they can lure him away from Arsenal’s project.

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And while Heskey believes that will be a hard task, it hasn’t stopped him calling for Liverpool to look at Martinelli.

“I can’t see Arsenal letting Gabriel Martinelli go any time soon, but he’d definitely be someone I would be looking at if I was Liverpool,” Heskey told Ladbrokes.

“If you look at that aggression in his game, and the way he’s played so far this season, there aren’t many out there with his ability.

“He’s up and down the pitch, non-stop, for 90 minutes. He’s got the ability to drive at players, pull them in and out of positions.

“He’s confident and comfortable on the ball to a point where, as a defender, you aren’t quite sure whether he’s going to have a shot, put a cross in or take you on.

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“He’s a fantastic player, and someone who everyone would love to play with and hate to play against. He gives you no time whatsoever.

“There was a moment in the game on Sunday where Joel Matip was dealing with a ball in the air, it looked like he had complete control, and then out of nowhere Martinelli comes in, closes him down and took the ball off him.

“He got his body in the way, and he’s a strong lad these days, so once he’s in that position, he’s hard to beat. That was from something which wasn’t even a 50/50 ball; it was more a 70/30 ball in Matip’s favour.

“Players like that, you’re always going to want in your team.”

Taking the excellent Roberto Firmino out of the equation, Liverpool’s forwards have largely underperformed this season, which is saying something considering they have 9-0 and 7-1 wins under their belts. Firmino was the orchestrator of the 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth and leads the way for Liverpool with 1.2 goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League. Looking at Liverpool’s other forwards, no one comes close, with Luis Diaz’s metrics the same as Martinelli for Arsenal.

Martinelli also outperforms everyone expect Firmino in shots on target (1.3 per 90), with Mohamed Salah having more shots in general (2.5 to 2.2), and stands on top for take-ons completed (2.3). One place where Martinelli does lack at the moment is assists per 90 at 0.3, but only two players in the Premier League have created more chances than his 20 (Kevin De Bruyne and Salah).

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