Gabriel Martinelli was relatively unknown to Arsenal fans or pretty much any football loving fans that’s not from Brazil until he fell on Arsenal’s radar in the summer transfer window joining the club for a 6 million pounds transfer fee. Life has begun on a positive note for the 18-year old has he now has four goals from two starts for the Gunners.
Now here is an irony of life for you, while Manchester United was struggling to score a goal at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League Martinelli whom they once had on trial at Old Trafford was shipping in two in two minutes in the same competition at the Emirates.
Did I say Martinelli was “unknown”, well only on this side of the hemisphere the player had impressed enough in South America that pundits at tipping him to follow in the footsteps of Neymar Jr.
The young player himself had come out say that he idolized the Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo growing up and had tried to tailor his style of play to the five-time FIFA Player of the year. A review of Martinelli’s two goals against Standard Liege will reveal that bit of Ronaldo-esque touch meaning we can expect a lot of greatness from this young lad.
His first goal came from a perfect execution of a rather difficult technique. The ball was arrive with a lot of pace on it not to mention an acute angle. To attempt that header took some bravery and confidence and the way the ball left the keeper for dead emphasizes it all.
The second goal, even Ronaldo himself would have been proud of. The composure from an 18-year old is phenomenon, and the way the ball went in again leaving the keeper for dead just reminds on of the Portuguese. It was like looking in a mirror.
His coach speaks highly of him:
“The first thing in his mind is to help us,” he said after Thursday’s Europa League win.
“In the pre-season he was perfect, all the time with us. I spoke with him to be calm because when his opportunity arrives if he continues with that hunger he is going to do well.
“His pace is amazing. Above all he prefers to play left winger. I am using him as a striker because he played in that position in Brazil.”
And United had him their grasp;
According to the Manchester Evening News, the then 14-year-old played alongside Mason Greenwood in a friendly for United’s youth team against Lincoln’s Under-18s. United won the game 2-0 but the Red Devils ultimately decided not to follow up their interest.
“Between 2015 and 2017 I went there four times and trained on average about 15 days,” Martinelli said.
“I saw all the professionals. I asked to take a picture with [Patrice] Evra, [Marouane] Fellaini and other guys. [Paul] Pogba knew I was Brazilian and asked if everything was fine with me and where I played. We took a picture together.”