Mikel Arteta has challenged Gabriel Martinelli to take his game to the next level by claiming the Brazil international can improve “in all departments”.
It was confirmed this morning that the 21-year-old had committed his long-term future to the club – a deal reported to last until 2027 with an option to extend by a year – after lengthy contract talks.
The manager is clearly delighted to tie down such an exciting talent and hopes other players in the squad will follow suit in due course.
“It’s great news, obviously we want to build on all the talent and the youth that we have in the squad so it’s great to see them happy and willing to commit to the club and what we want to do for the future.
“He’s a player with enormous potential that still has so many things to improve but has already performed at a really high level.
Asked how he expects Martinelli to develop, the managed continued: “I think, in all departments, to be fair.
“When you ask him, he can develop physically, he can develop mentally, he can develop in terms of consistency, he can develop defensively and develop in the final third and the spaces that he occupies.
“His numbers can be improved. He’s so willing, that’s the best thing about Gabi.”
Arteta’s next job is to persuade Bukayo Saka and William Saliba to join Martinelli in signing a new deal. Both have 18 months left to run on their current deals but are much coveted elsewhere.
“Part of the plan is to extend the contracts of our biggest talents at the club and commit them for the future,” said Arteta when asked about negotiations with the winger and centre-back.
“We are trying to do that and we’ve started with Gabi, which is good news. The others will be done whenever we can, but we have to agree on that.
“I see everybody really happy, really willing to continue to at the club but obviously we have to meet everybody’s expectations and timing is key on that.”
After it was confirmed earlier in the week that Mohamed Elneny, one of the club’s senior statesmen, was facing an “extended period” on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery, rumours quickly surfaced that the Gunners would take up an option to extend the Egypt international’s current contract for an additional year.
While Arteta wouldn’t confirm that such a decision had been made, he was clear that Arsenal knows its responsibility towards players, especially in their time of need.
He said: “Our way of treating people, our way of living together and what we expect from people is to give the maximum. When it’s the other way around and things become difficult, I think the club has to behave in the right way. We have some really good examples and we have to continue to do that.”