‘Give him a go’ – Paul Merson urges Mikel Arteta to play Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli up front instead of Alexandre Lacazette


Arsenal v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg

Martinelli has impressed for the Gunners in recent months (Picture: Getty Images)

Paul Merson believes Arsenal need to sign Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Everton in the summer, but until then, should play Gabriel Martinelli at centre-forward.

The Gunners were on the search for a striker in the January transfer window and placed Dusan Vlahovic at the top of their shortlist.

But the 22-year-old made the decision to join Juventus instead, leaving Arsenal with a lack of options up front.

Lacazette has three Premier League goals for Arsenal this season

Lacazette has three Premier League goals for Arsenal this season, while Martinelli is on four (Picture: Getty Images)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left the club to join Barcelona in January, while Folarin Balogun went out on loan, leaving Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as the only senior recognised strikers in the squad.

While Merson feels Calvert-Lewin should be targeted in the next transfer window, the Arsenal legend has urged Mikel Arteta to give winger Martinelli a run of games at striker, instead of Lacazette.

‘Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a perfect fit for Arsenal and they should break the bank to sign him next summer,’ Merson told the Daily Star.

‘Arsenal need a world class centre forward. They’ve just saved £25m in wages getting rid of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

‘And they tried to spend big on Dusan Vlahovic so we know the money is there. They should be talking to Everton about Calvert-Lewin already.

‘Calvert-Lewin is young and hungry. He will be England’s first choice No 9 in years to come. He holds the ball up very well and he works his socks off up front.’

‘Until then, I would give Gabriel Martinelli a go up front,’ Merson added.

‘You can’t rely on Alexandre Lacazette to get you goals. I would play Martinelli there.

‘Take a chance on him. He’s very lively. Very quick. Defenders don’t like that. If he gets away from you, he’s in. He’s bright, and he’s a good finisher.

‘He could be the superstar Arsenal are waiting for, and they play through the lines, they play delicate little balls that he thrives on. Give him a go.

‘I’m not sure Arsenal have blown their chances of the top four by not signing a striker this window. They only play once a week – a huge advantage. I still think they’ve got a chance.

‘The shackles are off. No-one’s expecting too much from them. They can go out and play without pressure. They’re a young, enthusiastic team.’

MORE : Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette send messages to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Arsenal exit

MORE : Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says Mikel Arteta was his only problem at Arsenal

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