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The 19-year-old recently made his comeback for the Gunners’ Under-21s after nine months out and has been training with the first team

Arsenal are almost ready to welcome Gabriel Martinelli back to the first-team fold, according to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

The 19-year-old forward has not featured since March after suffering a serious knee injury but recently made his comeback for the club’s Under-21s.

Five points above the relegation zone a third of the way through the Premier League season, Arsenal are desperate for inspiration and Arteta says Martinelli has provided a fresh injection of energy and enthusiasm in training.

“Gabriel Martinelli is very close to being available and fit to be part of us as well, which is great news,” Arteta told a press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton.

“Gabi is pure enthusiasm, energy, belief, charisma and goals. And this is him.

“He’s around the training ground and he’s around our training sessions and the energy is different because he goes 100 miles per hour.

“He’s got this passion in his way of playing and he is a threat. He’s a player that we’ve been missing because he brings something special to the team.

“He’s contagious with his attitude and I think it’s going to be a big boost when we have him.”

Martinelli made his mark in 2019-20 with six goals in the Premier League and Europa League, including one particularly memorable individual effort against Chelsea.

Over the summer, he signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium which will reportedly keep him at the club until 2024.

“I want to win the Champions League and lots of domestic titles to make Arsenal’s fans very happy,” he told FourFourTwo back in April.

“They deserve the best – not only the supporters but all of the club’s staff. I’d like to give back to the club after everything they’ve done for me so far and, as a result, become a Gunners legend.”

Arsenal will need all the help they can get as they end a rollercoaster year with a difficult run of fixtures.

Following the Premier League game with Everton, they face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup before a home fixture with Chelsea and a trip to Brighton.

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December 19, 2020
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