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Why did Arsenal sign 18-Year-Old Gabriel Martinelli?

Investment in teenage talent continues as Arsenal FC signs Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli to help the Gunners through the upcoming season. 

Last updated: 12.07.2019
Why did Arsenal sign 18-Year-Old Gabriel Martinelli | Sports Social Blog

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The transfer season is in full throttle with big clubs( even some smaller ones) spending a lot of money on young talent. Almost every major club has or is in the process of dipping their toes in transfers that would’ve made headlines in previous seasons. Arsenal FC, however, have been mostly dormant in this regard. While a Wilfried Zaha transfer is heavily anticipated, till now the most significant transfer in the window for the North London club has been Gabriel Martinelli for 6.7 Million EUR. The 18 years old Brazilian forward will be spending the foreseeable future in England representing the Gunners under Unai Emery’s management. 

While this transfer has been overshadowed by others with more zeroes and more prominent names attached, it might catch some people off guard when the season begins. This is because the former forward from Ituano is quite formidable on the pitch. We might even get an early preview as he’s been reported to join the Gunners on their pre-season USA tour.



Martinelli shows signs of being the quintessential Brazilian attacker coming with nimble feet and a tinge of showmanship in his playstyle that hearkens back to the old school Brazilian players. During his time with Ituano, he scored 6 goals in 17 matches. 

Whether he’ll reach the stage that is reserved for Brazil’s best is certainly not a given, but with the right guidance, he could prove to be a major threat to the opposition on English soil. He is fast both across long and short distances. Quick feet enable him to confuse and thwart enemy defenders. Not only can he play all three forward positions( both wings and the centre) but his transition from one position to another is seamless indicating an innate knack for attacking football, clearly suited for Arsenal. He seems to prefer the Left wing definitely and will often change his lane and proceed to the centre to score the goal. He boasts pretty good finishing and general shooting prowess which would come in handy at any team. He has the decent passing ability, whether the passes in a concern be lofted or grounded. His dribbling seems to not only comprise of standard lane changing but a combination of that classic Brazilian step-over and pace change combo (with everything in between). An out and out attacker that would prove beneficial against a lot of teams.

Gabriel Martinelli

Factoring in at Arsenal:

While it is highly unlikely that he will play most matches, especially with heavyweights like Aubameyang and Lacazette up front, both of whom really shone in the 2018-19 season. That being said, because he likes playing the extreme left as well, he can be put in as the LM to provide assistance to the attack. Arsenal will also be able to play a stable 3-4-3 and use him as a centre-forward or put him on the wing with Lacazette as CF. That way, he would be able to lay in the through balls and crosses to the others as well as be able to put his dribbling skills, pace, and stamina to good use. 

As a substitute, he could be brought on for forwards and provide the extra energy when Arsenal most needed. You cannot expect Aubameyang, Lacazette, and others to perform for the whole 90 minutes for each game and that’s where his youth-aided stamina and pace( and energy in general) would be put to good use. With him at the front (especially in the wing), Arsenal could take advantage of his through balls, shooting and finishing and double down or continue on the aggression. So, with his ability to play RW, CF, and LW, a lot of diverse play-styles and formations can be implemented, and the range of plays are only broadened once you take into account his natural attacking aptitude.

The Potential Downside:

The drawbacks with Martinelli are very much on the surface. First of all, he’s 18 and as a result, is far from the most experienced player on the block. He has good natural aptitude, but it has been proven time and time again that natural aptitude is not enough. Then, perhaps the even bigger cause for concern is that he played in the Sao Paulo State League, which is not exactly comparable to the grand stage that is the Premier League. The youngster has not faced the same calibre of opponents that he will now be facing. Thus, there will be a giant leap in terms of conflict hurled at him, and he will have to stand up to it. Keep in mind that this is not exactly the next stage of progression but quite a few leaps ahead. The competition will be cutthroat, and the pressure will be high. Never having played for a stage, so grand and club were so coveted, the teenage Brazilian forward will have to adapt to a stage that is leagues ahead of what he’s been accustomed to. 

All in all, it looks like a good transfer looking at the evidence. There are challenges for sure, but he seems to have a lot of talent that Arsenal might be able to utilize for the better. 

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