Arsenal’s young winger Marquinhos may not be as big a name as Gabriel Jesus or Oleksandr Zinchenko but the new summer signing could well make an instant impact in Mikel Arteta’s squad this season.
There is something of an expectation that the 19-year-old gem will go straight into the U23 squad for the upcoming campaign.
Although that’s not the belief of teammate and first-team star Granit Xhaka, who has tipped the former Sao Paulo starlet to breakthrough in a similar vein to his fellow countryman, Gabriel Martinelli.
Speaking in last weekend’s matchday programme for their final pre-season clash against Sevilla – a game in which the Gunners came out on top – the Swiss midfielder said:
“He reminds me of Gabi Martinelli when he first came, everyone was saying ‘yeah he will go to the under-23s first’ and stuff like this, but how Gabi adapted at this level was unbelievable, and I have the same feeling with Marquinhos as well.
“For his age he is very developed physically, very fast, good left foot. Of course, he needs to adapt to this level first, this country as well, but I see a big future for this guy.”
Marquinhos has earned two substitute appearances in pre-season, playing 23 minutes against FC Nürnberg and 17 minutes against Premier League rivals Chelsea, so it’s evident that Arteta was taking a keen look on him before the start of the new campaign, which gets underway on Friday night as Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace.
The teenager was part of Sao Paulo’s first-team set-up and they were desperate to keep hold of him – according to GOAL, they had offered him a new deal worth 13 times what he was currently earning.
He was even trusted to start a Copa Libertadores last-16 clash against Racing Club, where he bagged his first goal for the Tricolour Paulista. The Brazilian sensation also contributed to their other two goals in the 3-1 victory.
“Talking about Marquinhos, he made his debut a week ago and tonight he was the protagonist,” his then-manager Hernan Crespo said after the Racing win.
Meanwhile, the young dynamo has been likened to Douglas Costa, who was once a star for Shaktar Donetsk, where he earned a lucrative move to Bayern Munich.
“He made a huge impression at Sao Paulo last season. He reminds me of Douglas Costa, versatile, mobile and can operate across the front line,” claimed South American football expert Tim Vickery to Sky Sports.
Should Arteta trust him to be involved in the coming weeks and months, then he could well unearth the Gunners’ next Martinelli as on the above evidence, the north Londoners have an exciting talent with bags of potential – Xhaka certainly thinks so.
Arsenal’s involvement in the Europa League will also open up a likely avenue for minutes, even if it’s from the bench.
No one expected the Brazilian to break through in the way he did, so Marquinhos’ potential impact this season cannot be understated just yet.