Arsenal beat Man Utd, Barcelona to £5m signing of Brazilian prodigy

Solskjaer Emery

Arsenal have won the race to sign Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano, according to reports in the Brazilian media.

According to Brazilian news outlet UOL Esporte, the Gunners have “agreed a deal” to sign the 17-year-old, who will move to Emirates Stadium over the summer.

Martinelli has made a name for himself scoring six times in four Sao Paulo Cup matches, while also netting another six goals and laying on three more in the Paulista championship.

And his form had brought him to the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs with both Manchester United and Barcelona making regular checks on his progress.

The teenager even went as far as to undergoing a trial at United’s Carrington training base; the youngster managing to get his photo taken with Paul Pogba during his brief spell at the club.

Brazilian clubs Flamengo, Cruzeiro and Santos were also trying to sign the Ituano teenager.

But it’s claimed Martinelli opted for a move to Arsenal after Unai Emery fielded a long-standing pursuit for the player and the teenager also hoping to follow in a impressive line of Brazilian players at Arsenal, with the likes of Gabriel Paulista, Julio Baptista and Gilberto Silva among those to have represented the Gunners over recent years.

However, the man widely credited with sealing the deal is reported Arsenal director of football target Edu; another man who represented Arsenal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: Edu a former Arsenal player and now sporting director of Brazil side Corinthians at Emirates Stadium on October 10, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Edu was part of Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles side and is apparently the man that the north London side view as the ideal man to fill the role vacated by Sven Mislintat in January.

Edu currently works as general coordinator for Brazil’s national teams, and it’s reported that Arsenal will make their move to bring him back having failed to lure Monchi to the Emirates Stadium.


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