Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba free up space for two Arsenal transfers


Mikel Arteta is hoping to sign Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha after the Fabio Vieira deal, and Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba have handed the Arsenal boss a transfer boost

Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba will class as homegrown in Arsenal’s latest Premier League squad

Fabio Vieira is expected to be the first of several signings to arrive at Arsenal this summer.

The Gunners confirmed a deal potentially rising to £ 34 million for the Porto playmaker who is capable of playing in a number of attacking roles. Vieira was named player of the tournament in last year’s European under-21 Championship, and Mikel Arteta expressed his delight at the signing of a ‘special talent’.

The midfielder is expected to be the first of several senior arrivals in the red-half of north London this summer, with deals for Marquinhos and Matt Turner already confirmed. Brazil internationals Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha have both been linked, with Leeds United reportedly rejecting an opening offer from the Gunners for the in-demand winger.

Arsenal are in desperate need of attacking reinforcements following the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners are also said to be mulling over a number of midfield targets, with Granit Xhaka once again linked with Roma.

Two players who are expected to stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond this summer and fight for their roles in the side are Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba. Both have shown promise in their recent performances, and now qualify as homegrown for the new season.

Premier League rules dictate clubs must register at least eight homegrown players in their 25-man squads. Having signed in Edu’s first transfer window as technical director in 2019, Martinelli and Saliba will now be considered homegrown due to having been registered in three squads before celebrating their 21st birthdays.

William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli are set to stay and fight for first-team spots at Arsenal this season

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This hands Arteta greater room to maneuvere in this summer’s window, knowing the club’s homegrown quota has already been boosted. The departure of squad players could add to this flexibility, with Nicolas Pepe and Nuno Tavares among those linked with exits in recent weeks.


Speculation over a new long-term contract for Martinelli has quietened down despite another encouraging season from the young forward. The 21-year-old’s contract is currently set to expire in 2024, but he has been handed the number 11 shirt ahead of the new season to reflect his newfound first-team status.

Arsenal were pipped to a top-four finish by rivals Tottenham last term, but Martinelli has previously outlined his ambition to help the club return to the Champions League. The Gunners have not featured in Europe’s elite competition since their heavy aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the round-of-16 in 2017.

While Martinelli has enjoyed opportunities to impress the Arsenal fans, Saliba is still waiting for his first senior appearance for the club since signing for the club in the summer of 2019. The promising center-back has enjoyed a successful loan spell with Marseille, where he was awarded the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season award as well as being named in the division’s Team of the Season.

Marseille are said to have approached the Gunners over the prospect of a permanent deal for the 21-year-old. However, both Arteta and Saliba have been clear on their intentions for the center-back to feature in the Premier League this season.

Saliba told French TV show Telefoot last month: “I belong to Arsenal. I still have two years left. I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches, and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club. “

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