For Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta, the remainder of the season is a building process. With that in mind, here are three players he should look to build his time around in preparation for next season.
Mikel Arteta took over the Arsenal team in a near-impossible situation. While the top-four race is not completely out of reach, staggeringly, in all reality, his first half-season in charge was as much about as preparing for the future as it was the results of that particular period. Arteta is in north London for the long-haul, not six months. So, in his first six months, it makes sense to begin to build the foundations of a team that can succeed next season and beyond.
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With that in mind, here are three players who Arteta should be looking to build the team around during the closing stretch of the campaign.
3. Gabriel Martinelli
No one could have expected Gabriel Martinelli to have the impact that he has. The 18-year-old arrived from the depths of Brazilian football in a new country, learning a new culture, language, team and league, and immediately shone. What Martinelli is currently doing is entirely unique.
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He is now the club’s second-highest scorer on the season behind only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is beginning to unseat far more experienced teammates in the starting XI, and is proving that he can produce against some of the best teams in the country, including Liverpool and Chelsea.
At just 18, Martinelli has established as a key part of the attacking rotation at the club. Who knows what he could be capable of when he fully develops? For that reason alone, investing in his future, and building the team upon it, makes almost too much sense.