Arsenal prepare an offer worth 2.1 billion naira for 17-year-old midfielder

According to reports in Goal, Arsenal are prepared to offer €5 million (£4m/$6m/N2.1b) for 17-year-old Ituano midfielder Gabriel Martinelli. The Gunners are readying a bid for the Ituano midfielder as he has started brightly in the Paulista Championship. Martinelli is also on the radar of Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Palmeiras and Santos, and close to obtaining an Italian passport, though it is thought he is valued at approximately €10m. That is a figure considered beyond the means of the teams in Brazilian football, opening the door to approaches from clubs in Europe.

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After playing three times in the Paulista Championship in 2018, Martinelli scored six goals in just four games in the last edition of the Sao Paulo Junior Football Cup. In the current Paulista Championship, Martinelli has already scored three times in nine matches as Ituano sit second in group D, a point behind Oeste. Martinelli, who will turn 18 in June, also scored four times in 17 games in the Copa Paulista.

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The teenager began his youth career at Corinthians but spent the last four years in Ituano’s academy and went through a trial at Barcelona during that time. Martinelli also has been through a trial at Manchester United in 2017. Though he did not sign, he made a good impression and has since been closely followed by English scouts.

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Reports have indicated Premier League club Watford, along with Championship sides Leeds United and Middlesbrough, are interested in Martinelli. However, Arsenal’s board have already signed off on the move for the midfielder and are looking at advancing their offer of €5m for the teenager. If Martinelli can secure an Italian passport, he would be able to also obtain a work permit to join the Gunners.

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Arsenal spent heavily in the summer 2018 and January 2018 windows, bringing in the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira among others, and left the club’s transfer budget this past window limited. Unai Emery admitted that the club were limited to loan deals this past winter, which saw the Gunners land Denis Suarez as they compete to finish in the top four of the Premier League and battle in the last-16 of the Europa League. However Emery has said he expects to be able to spend to bring in new players this summer.

Do you think Arsenal are offering too much for this 17-year old Brazilian?