Rio Ferdinand thinks Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli can follow in the footsteps of a Liverpool icon, as long as he manages to stay fit.
The left winger, who can also play at centre-forward, moved to Arsenal in summer 2019 from Brazilian club Ituano. He made his Gunners debut in a 1-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle United in August 2019.
Martinelli managed 10 goals in 26 matches during his debut campaign at the Emirates. However, his season was also disrupted by hamstring and knee problems.
It was a similar trend for the Brazilian during the following campaign. Martinelli could only manage 22 senior appearances due to knee and ankle injuries. And the goals almost dried up for him, with just two coming his way that year.
Things improved for Martinelli last season as he largely stayed fit and registered six goals, plus seven assists, during 36 outings in all competitions.
Mikel Arteta is enjoying using the 21-year-old on the left flank. He is forming a great relationship with Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka, as well as new striker Gabriel Jesus.
Martinelli has got on the scoresheet in both of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far this season. And he will be looking to continue this good form when Arsenal travel to Bournemouth in the Prem on Saturday evening.
During an appearance on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel, Ferdinand heaped praise on Martinelli and predicted him to emulate Liverpool great Luis Suarez.
Rio Ferdinand gives Gabriel Martinelli verdict
“Martinelli, if he stays fit, this guy, I’ve told you this before what Arteta told me, he could be the next Suarez-type player,” Ferdinand said (via football.london).
This is a slightly amusing comparison given Arsenal’s pursuit of Suarez. They tried to sign him from Liverpool in 2013, with reports at the time claiming the Reds would have to accept anything over £40million.
As such, Arsenal put in a bid worth £40,000,001. However, Liverpool immediately rejected this proposal and Suarez stayed at Anfield for another year before joining Barcelona.
Martinelli certainly has some of the attributes to help him shine like Suarez did. The winger is brilliant at dribbling and gets into good positions in the box. He is showing a keen eye for goal, too.
Ferdinand also spoke about Arsenal’s transfer business. They have completed impressive moves for Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira, among others.
“Even Brendan Rodgers, I was interested in Brenden Rodgers’ comments. He said that Arsenal have gone up a level with their additions. It looks positive with you guys,” the former centre-back added.
Before Leicester’s 4-2 defeat to the Gunners, Rodgers said: “Arsenal have gone to a new level with the three players who have come into the team.
“[William] Saliba is a talented player, he’s gone away and got really good experience and you see him, he’s quick, he can dominate. He’s a fantastic addition and gives them presence at the back.”
Arteta will be hoping the three big arrivals, as well as the return of Saliba from loan, can give Arsenal the edge in their top-four hunt.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have reportedly taken action to try and beat Arsenal to the signing of a La Liga forward.
The article Rio Ferdinand compares Gabriel Martinelli with Liverpool hero amid Arsenal attacker’s exciting form appeared first on Teamtalk.com.