Mikel Arteta insists he's satisfied with Gabriel Martinelli and dismisses reports that the Brazilian forward could be loaned out in January.
After arriving as a virtual unknown from Ituano on the recommendation of the club's former scout Francis Caggio, the 20-year-old catapulted to prominence during his first season at Arsenal.
Martinelli's career has been hampered by injuries since that breakthrough season, and he hasn't played in the Premier League since the first two weeks of this season, when Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were recovering from illness.
Since starting against Chelsea in a 2-0 defeat in August, Martinelli has been limited to the Carabao Cup, but Arteta insists the Brazil Under-23 international is still an important part of his long-term plans.
Asked why Martinelli hadn’t featured recently, Arteta said: ‘Well because of the amount of players we have in those positions, he had some games that he played.
‘He started against Brentford, he started against Chelsea and he started another game. Unfortunately, he got an injury last week, it is a minor injury and we don’t know if he’s going to be available for Monday.
‘We have a lot of trust with Gabi and we need to find space for him to grow within the squad.
‘If you look at the number of games he’s played the injuries have been a big setback for him, we sometimes forget his age and we need to try and help him maintain that balance because you can generate frustration that comes out of, in my opinion, a not very realistic diagnosis and we need time.’
Asked directly whether a loan move was an option for Martinelli, he added: ‘I’m very happy with him we are not thinking about anything like that.’