Gabriel Martinelli says he had four trials at Manchester United as part of an agreement between the club and his former team Ituano.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 21: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal scores his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC at Stamford Bridge on January 21, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

It’s no secret Gabriel Martinelli spent time on trial with Manchester United and Barcelona before joining Arsenal. The player spoke to the media recently about his time in Spain, admitting the La Liga club invited him to train in La Masía, then didn’t make him an offer.

This week, the 18-year-old explained to FourFourTwo how it came to be that he also spent time with Manchester United.

“There was a partnership between Ituano and Manchester United which allowed me to go there every year, for four years, to train with boys my age or older,” Martinelli said (via Daily Mail).

“That was nice because I got a first taste of what English football was like. I met Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Paul Pogba, and made sure I got a photo with all of them.

“They didn’t make an offer. So I returned to Ituano and kept doing my job there.”

Obviously, United and Barcelona will be kicking themselves right now. Martinelli joined Arsenal for a small fee and bagged 10 goals in his first six months at the club. He also added four assists, plus a deflected cross or two leading to goals.

The forward faced three of the big-six clubs in that time, scoring against two of them – Chelsea and Liverpool. Given his brace at Anfield, he actually has three goals in three big-six clashes so far.

In the last few weeks, Mikel Arteta pulled Martinelli out of the limelight somewhat, resting him against Newcastle United and Everton. That’s normal for a young player in their first season, but he undoubtedly has a huge future ahead.