EPL

Arteta: Martinelli has 'so much to improve' as Arsenal look to build for the future

By Sports Desk February 03, 2023

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants to build around players such as Gabriel Martinelli after the forward signed a new deal at the club.

Martinelli 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 every Premier League game this season and scored seven times in the competition for the top-flight leaders, who head to struggling Everton on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka is another youngster thriving under Arteta, who sees plenty of scope for improvement as the Gunners aim to build a dynasty with such talents.

"It's great news. We want to build on all the talent that we have in the squad," he said in a press conference on Friday.

"It's great to see them happy and commit to the club. He's a player with enormous potential who has so much to improve.

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

Asked if Saka and William Saliba – who has been excellent in Arsenal's defence following loan spells at Marseille and Nice respectively – were close to signing fresh deals, Arteta added: "Part of the plan is to extend the contract of our biggest talents. We are trying to do that.

"The others will be done whenever we can. I see everybody really happy and willing to continue with the club."

Arsenal wanted to recruit two more highly rated youngsters in January but were unable to get deals for Mykhaylo Mudryk or Moises Caicedo over the line.

Mudryk joined London rivals Chelsea in a £89million (€100m) move, while Brighton and Hove Albion rebuffed two offers for Caicedo.

The Gunners did bring in Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho, with the latter set to add vital experience in their bid to claim a first league title since 2004.

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

"We had a big one with [Mohamed Elneny's] injury and we needed a player in that position. [Jorginho] is a player that I've always admired. He's a great character who'll bring leadership and quality in that position and he's going to help us a lot."

Jorginho could make his debut against Everton, with Thomas Partey a doubt due to an injury he suffered in last week's FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.

"Let's see, that one is still a doubt," Arteta said. "Let's see how he comes in today and if he’s able to train or not. We will make a decision on that.

"He's not ruled out and it's nothing very significant, but it was significant enough to get him out of the game, which for Thomas is a bit unusual, 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 in charge of Everton, who sit 19th, level on 15 points with Southampton below them.

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

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