Darren Bent claims he wouldn’t swap Arsenal star for Neymar

Darren Bent says he wouldn’t swap the Arsenal star for Neymar (Pictures: Getty)

Darren Bent has explained why he wouldn’t swap Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.

Martinelli is enjoying an impressive season for Arsenal, scoring 11 goals in 25 Premier League games.

That statistic looks less impressive when you look at Neymar’s numbers, with the Brazilian scoring 20 goals and making 14 assists in 35 appearances in all competitions.

Despite viewing Neymar as a ‘phenomenal’ talent, Bent says he would not swap Martinelli for his Brazilian compatriot on current form.

‘Right now, I’d rather have Martinelli because Neymar is out for the season,’ ex-England striker Bent told talkSPORT.

‘But even if he wasn’t, I like our squad now so I’m sticking with Martinelli. Neymar in his pomp is unbelievable, but there are just times where things don’t fit.

‘When you look at the games he’s played, he’s played 20, 17, 15, 18, 22 and 20 [matches]. He’s always injured.

Gabriel Martinelli in action for the Premier League leaders

Gabriel Martinelli in action for the Premier League leaders (Picture: Getty)

‘I know he’s world-class and I’d have him as a squad player but he doesn’t walk into anyone’s starting XI.

‘I’m not criticising his ability, honestly he’s phenomenal. His ability is frightening. Some of the things he can do with a football, wow. But he comes with a bit of baggage.

‘Look at what previous managers at PSG have said about working with him, he makes it incredibly difficult.’

Neymar was ruled out of the second leg of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich with a season-ending injury.

The 31-year-old has vowed to ‘come back stronger’ as he prepares to undergo surgery on his right ankle.

PSG added in a statement: ‘Neymar Jr has sustained a number of instances of instability in his right ankle in recent years.

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‘Following his latest sprain, the Paris Saint-Germain medical staff recommended a ligament repair operation to avoid a major risk of recurrence.

‘All the experts consulted have confirmed this necessity. The surgery will be performed in the next few days at the ASPETAR hospital in Doha.

‘It will take three to four months before he can return to training with the team.’

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