​On July 2 2019, Arsenal announced the signing of an 18 year-old named Gabriel Martinelli from the fourth tier of Brazilian football.


The transfer was met with very little fanfare and even anger in some places from an Arsenal fanbase that were - and probably still are - hoping that the club would spend big on a new centre half instead.


Gunners fans have become well accustomed to obscure signings like Joel Campbell, Takuma Asano and Wellington Silva who went on to do very little for the club. It was assumed Martinelli would be the same, despite the low-risk high-reward style of the deal.


Six months down the line, and it's fair to say their opinions have changed.

The Brazilian has broken into the ​Arsenal first team and been one of the few shining lights in an underwhelming season for the Gunners.


Jadon Sancho is the only teenager who has been involved in more goals than him in Europe's top five leagues, and his strike on Tuesday night against ​Chelsea made him the first Arsenal teen to reach double figures for the season since Nicolas Anelka in the 1998/99 campaign.


Watching Martinelli carry the ball 70 yards from the edge of his own box before calmly slotting the equaliser past Kepa may well have brought back fond memories of the young Frenchman in his heyday at Highbury.


The comparisons don't stop there though, as Martinelli is perfectly capable of scoring uglier or more simple types of goal that Anelka got so many of in his Arsenal career. His opener against ​Sheffield United on Saturday is proof of that.

Nicolas Anelka

He is also a fantastic in the air, as evidenced by his phenomenal headed goals against Nottingham Forest and Standard Liege this season.


But what sets the Brazil Under-23 international apart from Anelka, and any other talent at his age for that matter, is his work rate.


Despite naturally being a forward, Martinelli spent most of the game against Chelsea back toward the left back spot, helping out his fellow 18 year-old Bukayo Saka once the Gunners went down to ten men.

Gabriel Martinelli,Ross Barkley

He made two clearances and one interception, which was more than ​Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe and ​Mesut Ozil combined, and by the end of the match he could barely walk over to the Arsenal fans to applaud them for their support.


The kind of young talent fans are witnessing week in week out the Emirates is rare, and Gooners probably haven't seen such consistently brilliant performances from a player so young since the likes of ​Jack Wilshere and ​Cesc Fabregas first broke into the team. 


The enthusiasm and energy with which he plays football is reminiscent of a terrier chasing pigeons around the park, and his bark is almost certainly as big as his bite.


It's not just fans who are aware of his potential though, as ​Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - who's suspension has given the Brazilian his chance in the first team - tweeted his admiration of the youngster after the game against Sheffield United.

​​There are, of course areas, of his game that he needs to work on. His passing for example could be improved, as he only had a success rate of 57.1% against Chelsea - the lowest of any outfield player on the pitch.


But it doesn't seem like Martinelli is going to rest on his laurels. ​Ian Wright revealed that the teenager had reached out to him on Instagram for advice, and with that kind of proactive and enthusiastic attitude, there's no reason why he can't go even further than Nicolas Anelka ever did.


The Frenchman left for Real Madrid after two years, and would go on to have a stellar career elsewhere, winning the Premier League and Champions League among a host of other honours away from north London.


Arsenal fans will be hoping that Martinelli's own career will be similarly decorated, but at the Emirates Stadium.