By Tony Attwood
It is not that usual for the BBC to get totally carried away with a story that shows Arsenal in a good light, but they certainly have done that with their reporting of Martinelli.
Just consider the opening of their piece…
“As Manchester United were labouring to a goalless draw at AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League, a player they once had on trial was hitting in two goals in two minutes in the same competition for Arsenal.
And yes, after a week of people bemoaning (or laughing at) the fact that Gnabry got away from Arsenal the foot is in another boot (or something like that) as we found out that Man U had turned Martinelli down after having him on trial.
As the BBC piece disclosed, “The 18-year-old was the top trend worldwide at one point on Thursday evening, highlighting the buzz around the talented forward tipped to be the next Brazilian superstar.”
And then came the really surprising bit. “… back in his homeland he is viewed as having the potential to become as big as Neymar.” Really? Goodness!
But on the other hand he has started two games for the club: in the 5-0 win against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup and the 4-0 game against Standard Liege. Two starts, four goals.
OK he’s not been playing against top PL defenders but even so, it’s not that bad. And if that were not enough there are comparisons to follow with Cristiano Ronaldo, on whom he apparently models his game.
Speaking of the new player Mr Emery said after last Thursday’s game, “The first thing in his mind is to help us. In the pre-season he was perfect, all the time with us. I spoke with him to be calm because when his opportunity arrives if he continues with that hunger he is going to do well.
“His pace is amazing. Above all he prefers to play left winger. I am using him as a striker because he played in that position in Brazil.” So that clarifies the striker vs winger bit.
As for the Man U connection, that turned up in an interview with ESPN in Brazil. In fact it seems Martinelli had several trials with Manchester United between 2015 and 2017. They got so far as playing him in a Man U friendly against Lincoln’s under 18s, but Man U felt that he was not up to their lofty standards.
And in fact Man U were not the only club looking at him. Gent from Belgium and Barcelona from somewhere or other, and a history of dodgy deals with youngsters, sent scouts to look at the player but it was Arsenal who made the move.
In fact Wikipedia claims that, “Martinelli was subject to interest from no fewer than 25 clubs around the world who wished to sign him”. And if you recall having chosen to go with Arsenal, he scored against Colorado Rapids in his first ever game for us.
And he has already been called up by Brazil, for on 20 May 2019 this year, Tite, the Brazil manager brought Martinelli into the preparatory training for 2019 Copa America.
Martinelli is 18. Aubameyang is 30. Thierry Henry joined Monaco aged 17 and didn’t reach us until he was 22. This time we’ve got our goalscorer right at the start of his career. Let’s hope the referees will protect him against the thugs.
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