This summer, Arsenal will be signing up for Brazilian teenage Gabriel Martinelli, Goal understands.
The 17-year-old arrives at the club in the summer after a deal with his current Ituano FC club has been struck by the Gunners. Martinelli qualifies through his father for an Italian passport so he won’t need a work permit to complete his move to the Stadium of the Emirates.
The attacker is considered one of the brightest young prospects in Brazil and has just been named the best newcomer in Sao Paulo’s top-level state league, the Campeonato Paulista.
Arsenal beat a host of top European sides to the teenager’s signing, with Francis Cagigao, the man behind the transfer, head of international recruitment.
A source confirmed to Goal that Martinelli has been extensively scouted by the Gunners over the past few months, watching him in Brazil while compiling a detailed London Colney qualities database using video analysis. Cagigao-known in South America for his strong contacts-then traveled to Brazil himself to watch the talented advance more than once before finalizing the transfer.
Arsenal will pay for Martinelli, who turns 18 in June, around £ 6 million ($ 7.7 million). Whether he will be featured with the senior side next season is not yet clear, but Goal has been told that during the pre-season he will be given the chance to impress-just as Matteo Guendouzi was from Lorient last summer.
Martinelli can play across the frontline but is more seen as a winger who likes to cut into more central areas inside. Goal understands that Arsenal was very impressed with his technique, composure, and energy levels.
North London club views Martinelli’s imminent capture as a success and highlights Cagigao’s growing influence behind the scenes. Since the departure of Sven Mislintat as recruitment head, Cagigao has been leading the scouting network of the club-with many club insiders supporting the 49-year-old to take on the top job in the future. However, until they have a new technical director in place, Arsenal is reluctant to make a permanent appointment.