Arsenal have made their first signing of the summer.
Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli has officially signed for the club, for a fee around the £5m - £6m mark. The 18 year old is now an Arsenal player, but what do we know of the youngster?
We do know that Francis Cagigao, working in Recruitment for Arsenal and thought to be taking over the Head of Recruitment role that Sven Mislintat vacated, was heavily involved in the move. Cagigao has strong links in Brazil, and our deal with Ituano was originally thought to be around £10m.
The fee is still a relatively low amount, especially when compared to similarly aged talent in England. Martinelli had impressed in a tournament recently for Ituano, ending as the club’s top scorer and being nominated in the Team of the Tournament.
It led to Martinelli being called up to take part in a Brazil international training camp as part of the preparation for the Copa America.
Martinelli has been on the radar in Europe for a while now, and had previously trained with Barcelona and was heavily linked with Manchester United in the past. At just eighteen though, how quick will his transition be from young talent to first team material?
Martinelli, when speaking to Arsenal, stated that he models his game on Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar was making an impact as a teenager, can we hold a hope that Martinelli can achieve anywhere near the same?
It is believed that his first season as an Arsenal player will be primarily with the Academy sides to help progress his adaptation to the English game, but Martinelli could well get the nod in one of our summer friendlies. Rotation is a huge part of our warm-up games, which may give Martinelli an early opportunity to impress Unai Emery – and show us all that he is far from merely a future project.
This signing could have big ramifications for our near future. It is in line with our new focus on youth, with former Under-23 boss Freddie Ljungberg moving up to Assistant Coach to enable the transition of Under-23 players to the first team.
Only time will tell if Martinelli will live up to the hype that revolved around him, but we can welcome him to the club and wish him every success as a Gunner.