Both youngsters were called up by their respective nations England and Brazil to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They were both knocked out in the quarter finals, with England losing to France and Brazil losing to Croatia.
Saka enjoyed a better tournament than Martinelli, however, getting three goals in four games and putting in a shift that was worthy of challenging for the young player of the tournament if England had made it to the semis at least. Martinelli, on the other hand, had limited time on the global stage and could not contribute meaningfully as Brazil missed out on a record-extending sixth World Cup title.
Both youngsters are now ready to put the tournament disappointment behind them and focus on the rest of the European football season with Arsenal. Arteta, who has been in contact with them while in Qatar and after they both left, has now stated that they are ready to return to the club.
He said on Sunday: “They’ll come back straight away into the rhythm, shape and mould of the team. We’re waiting for them and they are desperate to be back as well. I’ve spoken to both of them. Gabi was here today, with a big smile and big energy. He’s ready to go again. It’s going to be a big boost for the team.”
Alongside Saka and Martinelli, Arsenal lost Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Aaron Ramsdale and Matt Turner to the World Cup. In that time, they held a training camp in Dubai and played in a mid-season friendly tournament where they showed class.
All their World Cup absentees are ready to be reincorporated into the squad, with the exception of Gabriel Jesus and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who both picked up knocks at the tournament. Their injuries add to that of Emile Smith-Rowe, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Reiss Nelson, but Arteta believes his team is still strong enough to keep going until he has all his players.
Speaking about the injured and the state of his team ahead of Premier League resumption, the Spanish manager said: “[Emile] hasn’t been able to train in the last few days but hopefully he can start [to train] next week.
“He’s been out for a while now – he needs some time to get back to speed. We really need him and we’re going to welcome him with both arms, because he’s a really important player for us. We need him fit on the pitch.
“Alex is progressing well and Tomi is running on the pitch. Hopefully we’re going to get the international players [who have been at the World Cup] joining again this week.”