Arsenal star Gabriel Martinelli has claimed that Nottingham Forest star Djed Spence is the toughest opponent he has faced.

The 21-year-old is on loan at the City Ground from Middlesbrough and shone during a 1-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal in January.

After that game, he was linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium and he does look set for a high-profile summer transfer.

Nottingham Forest v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship
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Martinelli has struggled for a consistent run in the team this season. He has made 22 appearances for the Gunners; scoring four times and claiming three assists.

He played the full 90 minutes during a shock defeat for Mikel Arteta’s men on Trentside last month, picking up a yellow card in the process.

Spence gave him the runaround in truth and he’s now raved about the Forest man during an interview.

When asked to choose his toughest opponent, he told The Athletic: “Actually the guy from Nottingham Forest, Djed Spence, who I played against in the FA Cup.

“He is very strong, good on the ball, calm and quick. I was surprised; he is a really good player.”

Spence was in action last night as the Reds drew 0-0 with Preston North End at Deepdale and he’s now made 27 appearances for Forest.

Martinelli claim about Forest star Spence is quite astonishing

The 21-year-old is class but considering the Arsenal man is playing top-flight football every week, his claim does perhaps come as a surprise.

This gives further evidence that Spence looks set to play in the Premier League with or without Forest.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal - Premier League
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Martinelli comes up against world-class players on a weekly basis but he’s still named Spence as the man he’s hated playing against the most in England.

Forest were brilliant that day against Arsenal. Spence and Brennan Johnson gave Martinelli, Nuno Tavares and Kieran Tierney a torrid time and the Reds deserved their win.

With this claim by Martinelli in mind; it will be really intriguing to see where Spence does end up next season.

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