Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli has hailed previous training sessions with Manchester United for helping him get ready for English football.
Martinelli, 18, was one of five permanent signings made by Arsenal in the summer, but his arrival was overshadowed by the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz.
However, the Brazilian teenager has been the signing to make the biggest impact for the Gunners under both Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg, scoring eight goals in 16 games across all competitions.
Gabriel Martinelli at Arsenal: Five things to know…
- Gabriel Martinelli signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2019.
- The Brazilian teenager had to make do with cup appearances at the start of the season.
- Martinelli impressed and has started Arsenal’s last two Premier League games.
- He has scored eight goals in 16 appearances across all competitions.
- Martinelli recalled previous training sessions with Man Utd for helping him adapt to English football.
After getting six minutes on his Premier League debut in the opening game of the season, Martinelli had to wait for a run in the team, being restricted to cup appearances.
He started both of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup games and all but one of their Europa League outings, scoring seven goals.
The Brazilian’s performances as a rotational player earned him starts in Arsenal’s last two Premier League games and he scored in their 3-1 win over West Ham — their only victory in 12 matches across all competitions.
Martinelli has been praised for the way he has quickly adapted to English football, especially in comparison to Pepe, but the Brazilian has hailed a relationship between former club Ituano and United for helping him on the way.
“There was a project between Ituano and Manchester United, and they always took a player. And I always came for these trips,” he told DAZN.
“I could neither speak English nor French, but he [Paul Pogba] said ‘tudo bem’ (a common Portuguese greeting) and took the picture with me nicely, he was super humble.
“Those training days were super important for me to adapt to the style of play, the players and how fast the game is here.”
Martinelli’s arrival in the first team has displaced Alexandre Lacazette in the starting XI, with the Brazilian joining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Pepe in the attack.
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Martinelli: Arsenal was the right choice
Although the 2019/20 season has been a personal success for Martinelli, Arsenal have had a campaign to forget.
The Gunners are 10th in the Premier League as we close in on the halfway stage, losing as many games as they have won (five). They have sacked Emery and replaced him with Ljungberg on an interim basis, while Mikel Arteta is expected to take charge permanently in the coming days.
However, despite Arsenal’s struggles, Martinelli remains certain he made the right choice in signing for the club over other approaches.
“I remember we [Ituano] played against Guarani, we won 2-1, and my agent called me,” he added.
“He said ‘you have to decide, so what?’. Then he said it was Arsenal. Then you think, one of the best clubs in Europe. I said yes, I couldn’t refuse.
“There were some approaches, but Arsenal came in strong, and I made the right choice to be here.”