has praised Gabriel Martinelli after his latest brilliant display for Arsenal and revealed that Mikel Arteta once likened the young winger to former Barcelona and Liverpool striker .
The Brazilian gave a Man of the Match performance for the Gunners in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Liverpool, putting the north Londoners ahead inside the first minute before setting up Bukayo Saka on the stroke of half-time.
Martinelli has already racked up four goals and laid on two assists in the Premier League this season and gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time at the weekend, with the right-back subbed off at half-time – though he was carrying an injury.
Ferdinand has now revealed that he first spoke to Arteta about Martinelli several years ago and the Arsenal boss had such high hopes for the 21-year-old that he even compared him to Suarez.
Speaking on his show, Ferdinand said: ‘I love Martinelli, love him. I saw Arteta a couple of years ago, at Bournemouth away, and Martinelli was just coming through.
‘I said to him, “What’s he like man? He looks good to me. I like the look of this kid.”
‘And he went, “He’s going to be special”. I asked him what type of player he is, who is he like, and he said, “There’s a bit of Suarez in there”. And I was like “That’s enough for me, he’s gonna be a problem”.
‘He’s a bad player, he was the wrong ingredient for Trent [Alexander-Arnold] when he’s searching for confidence. The wrong ingredient. He did not need that!’
Arsenal have now won eight of their nine Premier League matches this season and sit top of the table, and Ferdinand feels there could be something special brewing at the Emirates despite previous false dawns.
He continued: ‘We’ve always sat here and there’s been moments over the last few years, since Wenger really, where we’ve gone, “They look like they’re onto something… oh no they’re not, they fell again”.
‘But this smells different. I must admit, this smells different. And I wish Arteta the best of luck because I like the way he carries himself, I like him, and I really like watching the Arsenal team now I’ve got to say. Martinelli and Saka and Jesus, I love them.’
Ferdinand singled out Gabriel Jesus, adding: ‘He could have sat at City and just won trophy after trophy, but he’s gone to Arsenal where he’s upped their levels I think. And he’s an important member of that team. Not that he wasn’t important at City but he’s more important here.’
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