In March’s edition of Four Four Two, they had an exclusive interview with Gabriel Martinelli in which he talked Arsenal, his trials at United and Barcelona, as well as his most unexpected experiences since arriving in London.
The young man from Ituano, who arrived at Arsenal in the summer for what was a bargain price, he has already scored 10 goals (with four assists) in his 26 appearances for the club before the world went into lockdown.
Asked simply by the FFT reporter if there was anything unexpected about his time in England so far, to which the 18year-old replied, “I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SCORE AGAINST LIVERPOOL AND CHELSEA SO SOON – THAT’S INEXPLICABLE” – they even printed in all caps like that so I think it’s safe to assume he was more than a little excited.
Martinelli netted against Liverpool in the EFL Cup back in October and against Chelsea in the 2-2 draw back in January, a game that seems a lifetime ago now.
The young Brazilian made an instant impact with Arsenal fans thanks to his energetic and intelligent play, helped, off course, handsomely, by his 10 goals and four assists at a rate of 104.5 minutes per goal or assist.
It could have all been so different, however, if Manchester United had bothered to make him an offer.
“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 told the magazine.
“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.”
Four Four Two then asked the obvious question – why didn’t he sign for them? “They didn’t make an offer, so I returned to Ituano and kept doing my job there.”
It’s hard to look at Martinelli now and not wonder how any club could turn him away, but, to be honest, I don’t give a toss about that.
All I know is quite a few did, and Arsenal ended up winning as a result.