The scout who helped discover Gabriel Martinelli explains the full story behind Arsenal’s decision to sign the amazing young Brazilian.
Speaking to the Arsenal en América podcast, the scout who helped discover Gabriel Martinelli explained the process behind Arsenal’s eventual move for the player.
“We have a scout in Brazil, he told me about Gabriel,” Johnathan Vidalle began. “Later, Francis Cagigao asked for my opinion and I travelled to Brazil to see him.
“Everton Gushiken liked him, he had some doubts about some characteristics, he didn’t know if he could make it in the Premier League, but they were normal doubts, about his mentality.
“I travelled to see him. We try to see players live on the pitch and I liked him. Obviously he was playing in a fourth-tier team, Ituano, but he was competing against Palmeiras in the Paulista championship. I went to see him against Santos and against Ponte Preta.
“I was surprised by the mentality he has, how competitive he was. Gabriel played as a winger, always played as a winger.”
Of course, Cagigao has now left Arsenal, purged in the latest cull after decades at the club.
“Francis is very capable and forceful, sometimes one becomes convinced after seeing a player 10 or 15 times,” Vidalle added. “He only needs a weekend, he has a very good eye. He has a high organisational level and great man management, he is very capable.”
Martinelli, however, is hopefully only at the beginning of his Arsenal journey and the knee injury that has him sidelined until the end of the calendar year merely a small bump along the way.
Gabriel Martinelli’s eye-catching workrate
One of the first things most of us noticed about Martinelli was his workrate. Even during his non-competitive debut against Colorado Rapids, he was racing around, closing players down and winning the ball back.
Then, when he got his opportunity in that match, he took it. It was that combination of hard work and end product that drew Arsenal to him in the first place.
“I was impressed by his ability to repeat efforts and not only in the attacking part of the pitch,” Vidalle continued.
“He helped with the left-back, which is a bit what he has done now at Arsenal. He finished those sprints with the same speed and lucidity with which he started.
“Like in the goal against Chelsea, he had a little luck because the defender slipped, but he finished well.
“That competitiveness and that way of working are important for the Premier League, especially for the wingers, who have to be fast and help on the defensive side.
“The Premier League is very difficult, it is difficult to adapt to. We knew that winger is his position, but as false 9 he moves very well.”
Martinelli’s record speaks for itself at this point, like casinomir.com. 26 appearances and 15 starts into his Arsenal career, he has 10 goals and four assists. All that before he turned 19, including goals at Stamford Bridge and Anfield and a brace (plus assist) against Standard Liege when Arsenal won 4-0.
In the Europa League, he scored three goals and grabbed three assists in just seven games, only three of which he started. In the League cup, Martinelli scored four in two, averaging a goal every 45 minutes. He started both of those games.
The young Brazilian certainly isn’t shying away from the limelight or showing any problems with his ‘mentality’.
The teenager did drop out of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League team just before the league shutdown due to his knee injury and it will, unfortunately, be a while until we see him again.
Martinelli feel like a player that will be worth waiting on, though, doesn’t he?
You can read the full interview on Arseblog where he posted a transcript, translated from Spanish. The interview took place in April, when this article was first published. It has been updated to reflect Martinelli’s injury severity, add stats, and details about Francis Cagigao departure and Vidalle’s comments about him.