Granit Xhaka has tipped new arrival Marquinhos for greatness with Arsenal, after he was left impressed with what he has seen from the young Brazilian.
THE LOWDOWN: IMPRESSIVE START
Brazilian forward Marquinhos was snapped up from Sao Paulo this summer. Although an agreement had been reached for his transfer in late May, the move to Arsenal sees the 19-year-old follow the footsteps of compatriot Gabriel Martinelli.
The teenager has not been involved with the first team that much and only played 28 minutes against Chelsea and made another 32-minute appearance against FC Nurnberg, both in pre-season. Meanwhile, he started in the closed-door game against Brentford, which ended in a 2-1 defeat.
On his debut for the U21s against Manchester United at the weekend, the winger finally made himself known in the presence of Mikel Arteta who was in the stands. Marquinhos gave a match-winning performance by scoring one, assisting one, and forcing another goal with a shot turned in on the rebound as the young Gunners claimed a 3-1 win on home turf.
THE LATEST: GETTING NOTICED
The Brazilian, who has been featuring more regularly with the senior side in training, has caught the attention of Granit Xhaka during that time.
“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,” Xhaka recalled.
“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.”
THE VERDICT: POSSIBLE FIRST TEAM DEBUT?
Marquinhos may have started in the U21s, but his debut suggests he won’t be there long. He starred in a game watched by Arteta and could go on to do more with the youth side before the season ends.
Perhaps it’s too soon to draw any conclusions, but at the very least, Manchester United didn’t provide much competition for the new Arsenal man.
If he continues to impress in further U21 fixtures against West Ham United, Chelsea, Brighton, and Cambridge United this month, it will be hard to deny him senior appearances or a loan before the end of the campaign.
Arsenal could offer Marquinhos some gametime in cup competitions and possibly in the Europa League, depending on how things progress.