Does Marquinhos Still Have a Future at Arsenal?

Allow Marquinhos to introduce himself: Arsenal winners, losers and ratings  as youngster dazzles in Zurich win | Malaysia

When Marquinhos arrived from Sao Paulo at the start of last season, many believed that he would be another Gabriel Martinelli, as Arsenal had really struck gold from the youngster they poached from Ituano. Bukayo Saka clearly needed a backup with the manager, Mikel Arteta, losing faith with Nicolas Pepe, sanctioning a move to OGC Nice for the Ivorian winger. If we all recall, Arsenal were very active in their pursuit of Raphinha from Leeds, but some drama with Chelsea ensued and he eventually found his way to Barcelona.

Marquinhos actually had a debut to remember, scoring and assisting in his first competitive game for the club in the 2-1 win of FC Zurich, then he got his first glimpse of Premier League football, coming on as a late substitute for Bukayo Saka in the win over Brentford. The Brazilian winger found games really hard to come by and in the winter transfer window well characterized by incoming moves for Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho, Arsenal shipped out Albert Sambi Lokonga to Crystal Palace to continue his football education in England, while Marquinhos moved to Norwich in the Championship.

His Norwich debut was rather inspiring with the young Brazilian scoring and assisting in the 2-0 win over Cardiff, but in his third game for the Canaries, Marquinhos earned himself a red card in the stalemate against Huddersfield Town. He ended up playing 11 games for Norwich, which included eight starts, but the club finished their Championship campaign in 13th place, and Marquinhos returned to the club, with Norwich making no further commitments to him.

In preseason, he played 25 minutes against the MLS All Stars, and managed seven minutes in the Emirates Cup win over Monaco, but with Mikel Arteta and Edu working together to prune the squad, it was always expected that while some players are hoping to be sold, like Auston Trusty, and maybe Matt Turner really soon, there will be some players that will also be shipped out on loan. 

FC Nantes has been identified as the team interested in signing Marquinhos on loan, which will make him the second Arsenal player to move to Ligue Un this summer with Ainsley Maitland-Niles agreeing to join Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer to Olympique Lyonnais. The Ligue Un outfit will reportedly pay a €300,000 loan fee and cover his €500,000 net salary. The clubs were reportedly discussing a €12M option to buy and €22M buyback clause, but Arsenal refused this proposal, agreeing to just a standard loan move with no obligation to buy. My thought process here is that Arsenal probably hopes for Marquinhos to shine like Flo Balogun did last season, so that they can sell for a bigger sum, and with Marquinhos costing just £3 million, they would be up for a good profit.

Which brings me to the critical question – does Marquinhos have a future with Arsenal?

From a pecking order perspective, he’s behind the likes of Bukayo Saka, Fabio Vieira, Leandro Trossard, Reiss Nelson, and even Nicolas Pepe. Let’s not forget that Gabriel Jesus managed some minutes on the right wing for Manchester City. His performances on the pitch haven’t been exemplary, and even though he’s a youngster, he hasn’t really shown that determination on the pitch, even though in his defense, he hasn’t had ample opportunity in the club.

I managed to watch some of his games at Norwich, and even at that level, he wasn’t really lighting up any fireworks. I will keep a keen eye on his games with Nantes and hope consistent game time in France will unearth the talent we believe is in there, but in terms of his long term future, I believe that he will be sold with the earliest opportunity, as long as there’s some good fortune to be made.


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