Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed forward Martinelli is edging closer to a return to the first-team picture.

Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 1

The Brazilian has not played for the club since an FA Cup tie against Portsmouth in March and has been out of action since June with a knee injury which required surgery the following month.

The 19-year-old has been in full training for the last fortnight and completed the first half of the U21s’ defeat by Wimbledon earlier this month.

Martinelli was absent however from the U23s side that beat their Leicester counterparts on Friday evening, raising Gunners fan’s hopes he could be involved in the first-team squad for the clash against on Saturday evening.

And speaking ahead of his side’s visit to Goodison Park, Arteta admitted his side have been Martinelli’s ‘contagious attitude’.

‘Gabriel Martinelli is very close to being available and fit to be part of us as well, which is great news,’ Arteta said in his pre-match press conference.

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

Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 2

Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 3 Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 1 Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 5

‘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 and 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 an impact in his debut season at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 10 goals in 26 appearances following his summer move from Brazilian outfit Ituano in 2019.

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Mikel Arteta reveals Gabriel Martinelli is closing in on first-team return 6