Arsenal braced for Gabriel Martinelli offers with Chelsea to play role

Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's Premier League win over Aston Villa

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Arsenal could lose Gabriel Martinelli to AC Milan in the final hours of deadline day if Chelsea strike a late deal to land Rafael Leao from the Italian giants, according to reports. Martinelli has emerged as a crucial member of Mikel Arteta’s squad over the course of this season and scored the winner in Wednesday’s victory over Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

The Brazilian winger remains tied down to Arsenal until the summer of 2024 as things stand, but it seems as though a late exit could be on the cards if Chelsea manage to bring Leao to Stamford Bridge. Milan have identified Martinelli as a potential replacement for Leao and could launch a surprise raid on the Gunners if the latter moves on before this evening’s cut-off point, according to Calciomercato.

It is claimed that Milan have taken a liking to Martinelli, who is two years younger than Leao and has proven his worth in the Premier League since joining Arsenal back in 2019. The north Londoners are reportedly unwilling to sell the 21-year-old for anything less than around £43million, though, with a last-gasp exit unlikely to be sanctioned by those in power at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal are reportedly keen to extend Martinelli’s stay at the club by handing him a new and improved contract over the coming weeks. PA Sport have claimed that the winger is expected to be offered a huge salary increase to reflect his importance to the side after emerging as their first-choice option on the left flank this season.

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Martinelli has already chipped in with three Premier League goals since the start of the new campaign and will be expected to keep delivering the goods for Arsenal as they go in search of a top-four finish. He has played the entire 90 minutes in four out of five games so far and looks set to be handed a prominent role once again when Arsenal face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

The forward was on target for Arsenal to help maintain their winning form against Villa on Wednesday as he volleyed home from close range after being picked out inside the area by Bukayo Saka. Martinelli went on to praise the mentality of his team-mates after the final whistle, with the Gunners currently enjoying their best start to a season since 2007.

“We are delighted with the performance and the result as well, that is the spirit we need to keep for the whole season,” said Martinelli in his post-match interview on BT Sport.

“We need to keep patient and we deserved the win and got the three points. We always try to score and we conceded from a set-piece. We were a bit upset but we scored again and that is the mentality we need to have.”

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