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Arsenal to sign teenage Brazilian forward Martinelli in £6m transfer

15:43 BST 25/04/2019
Gabriel Martinelli - Ituano
The 17-year-old Ituano FC attacker will complete his move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer following an extensive scouting process

Arsenal will sign teenage Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli this summer, Goal understands.

The 17-year-old will arrive at the club in the summer after the Gunners struck a deal with his current club Ituano FC.

Martinelli qualifies for an Italian passport through his father so will not need a work permit to complete his move to the Emirates Stadium.

The attacker is seen as one of Brazil’s brightest young prospects and has just been named best newcomer in the Campeonato Paulista, the top level state league for Sao Paulo.

Arsenal have beaten a host of top European sides to the signature of the teenager, with head of international recruitment Francis Cagigao the man behind the transfer.

A source confirmed to Goal that the Gunners have scouted Martinelli extensively over the last few months, watching him in Brazil while also compiling a detailed database of his qualities from London Colney using video analysis.

Cagigao - known for his strong contacts in South America - then travelled to Brazil himself to watch the the talented forward on more than one occasion before finalising the transfer.

Arsenal will pay around £6 million ($7.7m) for Martinelli, who turns 18 in June.

It is not yet clear whether he will feature with the senior side next season, but Goal has been told that he will be given the chance to impress during pre-season - just as Matteo Guendouzi was last summer following his arrival from Loreint.

Martinelli can play across the frontline, but is seen more as winger who likes to cut inside into more central areas. Goal understands Arsenal have been very impressed with his technique and composure, as well as his energy levels.

The imminent capture of Martinelli is being viewed as a success by the north London club and highlights the growing influence Cagigao is enjoying behind the scenes.

Since Sven Mislintat’s departure as head of recruitment, Cagigao has been leading the club’s scouting network - with many club insiders backing the 49-year-old to take on top job going forward.

Arsenal are reluctant to make a permanent appointment, however, until they have a new technical director in place.