Arsenal are favourites to sign 17-year-old Ituano midfielder Gabriel Martinelli despite interest from 25 different clubs, according to reports in Brazil.

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Gabriel Martinelli (Photo via Goal)

Globo Esporte report that Arsenal ‘should be the fate’ of Martinelli after the conclusion of the Campeonato Paulista in the coming months. The Gunners reportedly sent a scout to watch the teenager on a couple of occasions, during the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior and the Campeonato Paulista match against Palmeiras.

Martinelli’s agent Marcos Casseb has confirmed that 25 clubs are interested in his client, eight in Brazil and 17 in Europe. Arsenal are the closest, according to the claims, and Casseb admits their plan is to ‘go straight to Europe’.

The Brazilian player plans to obtain an Italian passport in June, making it easier for him to transfer to a European club.

For now, Martinelli will continue to play in the Campeonato Paulista, in which he’s scored six goals and assisted three in 11 games so far. That’s one off the competition’s top scorer Jean Mota (seven goals) and two off the top assister Aderlan (five assists). Not bad for such a young player.

Ituano play their final group game against Corinthians on Thursday, though they’ve already qualified for the knockout stages. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see how far they get.