This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
As confirmed by the club’s official website, Gabriel Martinelli has become Arsenal’s first signing of the summer after arriving from Brazilian side Ituano.
The 18-year-old is said to have signed a long-term contract at the Emirates and arrived after a real breakthrough couple of years at his former side.
The forward, who is capable of playing both up front and out wide, scored ten times in 34 appearances across all competitions after making his debut back in 2017.
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Despite his tender age, Martinelli could perhaps take inspiration from one of his new teammates in making a statement far earlier than many may have predicted.
When Arsenal’s floppy-haired Frenchman arrived last summer from Lorient, nobody could have expected him to become a mainstay in the first-team. Guendouzi signed from a side in France’s second division and many felt this was a signing for the future and that he would be sent out on loan or feature predominantly for the academy sides.
Instead, the 20-year-old hit the ground running and was impressive in pre-season for the Gunners, enjoying a particularly outstanding game against PSG. Unai Emery saw this, and subsequently handed him the full 90 minutes against Manchester City and Chelsea in the side’s opening two Premier League games of the season.
At 18, Martinelli is in a similar boat to his new teammate. Both have very little professional football to their name, but like Guendouzi, there appears to be a competitive streak and a willingness to learn. Indeed, in an interview after his signing, the teenager himself admitted that he took inspiration from one man in particular.
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He said: “I model my game on Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a player who works hard, pushing himself to the next level. Always in the run for titles and individual trophies. I am a player who gives his all at all times, I play as a team and always looking to win games and win trophies.”
The one big takeaway from Emery’s first season in charge at Arsenal was his intensity in wanting his side to work hard. It was one of the main reasons behind Mesut Ozil often being side-lined. So if Martinelli can follow in Guendouzi’s footsteps over the coming weeks, showing the manager he will fight for every last inch no matter his inexperience, he can enjoy the same kind of success the Frenchman had last year.