Cagigao says Arsenal initially had doubts about signing Gabriel Martinelli
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Cagigao says Arsenal initially had doubts about signing Gabriel Martinelli

Francis Cagigao has provided an insight to AS regarding the details of Arsenal signing Gabriel Martinelli, with the scout admitting that the Gunners initially had doubts about a move for the Brazilian.

Martinelli has been absolutely outstanding for Mikel Arteta’s men, particularly over the last couple of years. The 21-year-old has scored seven goals for the Premier League leaders this season.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

It has been a turbulent time for Martinelli at the Emirates. He made an unbelievable start. Few will forget his stunning solo goal at Stamford Bridge. But injuries then seemed to hamper his development.

Cagigao opens up on Martinelli signing

Arteta did not rush Martinelli back into the fold. And that strategy paid off as the Brazilian is now one of the most exciting talents in the world. Certainly, he has been superb this season.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

But perhaps events could have played out differently when Martinelli was still in Brazil, playing for Ituano.

Cagigao worked with the Gunners as part of their scouting team for 23 years. And he has explained in an interview with AS how Arsenal worked to sign Martinelli back in 2019.

“He played at Ituano, an hour and a half from São Paulo. We had him on the radar from grassroots football. We had doubts, but I started to go see him and he totally convinced me,” he told AS.

“Manchester United was able to sign him, but they didn’t, and so did Barça, because he was testing in La Masía, but they discarded him and we went in there with force so that he didn’t escape.”

Most teams have players they ultimately rue not signing. Cagigao also mentions how Arsenal were interested in Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique some time before they became superstars.

So it would have been a big blow had the Gunners missed out on Martinelli a couple of years ago. Certainly, he has proved that he is more than good enough for the very highest level. And, along with Bukayo Saka, he should only improve further in the years to come.

Martinelli meanwhile, has highlighted how pleased he remains with his decision to join Arsenal by signing a new long-term contract at the Emirates this week.

The challenge now for Arsenal’s current scouts is to find the next Martinelli out there and make sure that they end up joining the Gunners.

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