Arsenal endured a nightmare January transfer window, to put it bluntly.
More than a dozen Gunners players left the Emirates, either on loan or permanently.
This included six players with first-team experience.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun, Sead Kolasinac, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and, remarkably, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all left.
Indeed, the former Arsenal captain and club talisman was effectively given away to Barcelona.
The Gunners also failed to bring in a replacement up front, Dusan Vlahovic snubbing the Gunners and joining Juventus.
Now they have just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as senior options at centre-forward.
However, based on some observations at Arsenal’s Dubai warm-weather training camp, Mikel Arteta might have a plan.
Gabriel Martinelli has largely plied his trade on the left wing during his time at Arsenal.
However, Arteta has used the 20-year-old up front on a dozen occasions before.
In addition, football.london recently reported how Martinelli has seemingly been working to improve centrally.
“Near-post runs more typical of a No. 9”
“At the NAS sport complex he was regularly seen alternating in the positions he played across the forward line,” wrote Kaya Kaynak.
“Running on to passes from Martin Odegaard and making near-post runs more typical of a No. 9 than an inside forward.
“Martinelli has developed the physical presence to become a focal point in the attack in recent weeks, and possesses an aerial threat that could see him take more advantage of the excellent delivery Kieran Tierney regularly puts into the box.”
“The Brazilian also has the underrated technical ability to drop deeper and link the play in a manner that Arteta demands from any of his centre forwards.”
The outlet also cited Arteta saying in December how Martinelli is showing more discipline when it comes to making the right runs for the team.
“[Martinelli’s] overall understanding of the game is getting much better,” Arteta said after the Gunners 2-0 win over West Ham in December. “He’s able to put some gears into his play.”
So there’s a good possibility that Arteta could indeed be looking to deploy Martinelli as a centre-forward.
And considering how Thierry Henry’s conversion from winger to striker worked out, it’s exciting to see how Martinelli will fare if Arteta does the same with him.
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