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Football London
Football London
Tashan Deniran-Alleyne

Gabriel Martinelli latest: Real Madrid interest, Arsenal's transfer policy, what Klopp has said

Arsenal have endured a difficult 2019/2020 season, but one player who has stood out is Gabriel Martinelli.

The Brazilian teenager joined the Gunners from Ituano for £6m during the summer transfer window and has flourished under three different head coaches at the Emirates Stadium.

10 goals across all competitions this season is made all the more impressive given that Martinelli has scored at both Stamford Bridge (vs Chelsea, Premier League) and Anfield (vs Liverpool, Carabao Cup) in his debut year in English football.

Arsenal fans celebrating Gabriel Martinelli's goal at Stamford Bridge

As a result, the 18-year-old has been tipped for a bright future.

But is his long-term future with Arsenal in north London?

Much has been said about Martinelli since the start of the season and takes a look at the latest goings on in the world of the Gunners wonderkid.

Future of Arsenal

Gunners legend Martin Keown declared after the 2-2 draw against Chelsea that Martinelli has the 'club in the palm of his hands'.

"The Martinelli goal, that encapsulates the newfound spirit that is among Arsenal. That young man, honestly, he has the club in the palm of his hands," he told BT Sport.

"He can take it wherever he wants to.

Gabriel Martinelli scores for Arsenal in the Premier League against Chelsea. ((Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images))

"He was everywhere tonight, the youngest player on the pitch and he’s showing the way for all the other senior players.

"It's really encouraging watching it.

"I was here in 1999 where Nwankwo Kanu scored three goals to get Arsenal back into to win a game that they never should have won and that looked dead and buried where they were down to 10 men, somehow they found a way to get back into it."

How Barcelona and Man United missed out on Martinelli

Despite Martinelli being a relative unknown to Arsenal fans prior to his move last summer, he had been on the radar of Europe's biggest clubs a few years prior.

The youngster previously had trials with both Barcelona and Manchester United, but neither club elected to move for the attacker.

That allowed Arsenal to take a gamble following glowing reports from Francis Cagigao - the scout who discovered Hector Bellerin for the Gunners.

Liverpool interest and Jurgen Klopp's admission

Just hours after Martinelli netted against the Blues, Liverpool were being linked with a shock move for the Brazilian.

According to Football Insider, Jurgen Klopp's side are the teenager's trail, with a future move planned and the Reds boss' admiration for the forward is not a secret.

The German heaped praise on the 18-year-old after the sides played out a thrilling 5-5 draw in the Carabao Cup at the end of October - a game in which Martinelli netted twice and also converted his penalty in the shootout.

"That's really difficult to deal with these guys," he told Liverpool's official website.

"Martinelli's pretty much the same age [as Liverpool defender Sepp Van De Berg] but he's a talent of the century, he's an incredible striker, so it’s really difficult.

"Then you have Mesut Ozil around and Willock right, who scored by the way a really nice one, so a team like Arsenal in a counter-attacking mood – we keep them deep, play around them, we lose the ball and then it's really difficult."

Ronaldo comparison

Former Barcelona and AC Milan star Ronaldinho picked out a couple of attributes which makes Martinelli comparable with Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

"We as Brazilians are very excited about him and his future," Ronaldinho told the Mirror. "It is one thing to have the talent - but another at the age of 18 to have the confidence.

"He reminds me of Ronaldo his first season in Europe, he scored 30 goals and people were thinking: 'who is this 18 year old Brazilian kid?'

"He wanted the ball, he would run at players, there was no fear no matter what players or team he was playing against - and I see that similar attitude in Martinelli.

"He just wants to be on the ball and score goals.

"Ronaldo went on to be the best player in the world - and that can also be the aim of Martinelli."

Real Madrid interest

Martinelli's form this season is now reportedly attracting interest from Real Madrid.

The Santiago Bernabeu is fast becoming the home for promising Brazilian youngsters with Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior being joined by Reinier during the January transfer window.

And it would appear that Los Blancos want to add Martinelli to this list.

Okdiario claim Madrid are sending scouts to London to monitor the teenager's performances and have apparently been encouraged by Martinelli's recent dig at Arsenal for blocking him from accepting an U23 call-up by Brazil.

In addition, the report sates that Real will use any potential tension between player and club to their benefit.

Although, it's also stated that Arsenal are planning to ward off any interest in Martinelli by trebling the wonderkid's £10,000-a-week wages.

Italy or Brazil?

Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli is yet to decide on whether to represent Brazil or Italy.

His performances this season have not gone unnoticed and a fight for his services has emerged on the international stage.

Brazil wanted to use him for the U23 Olympic qualifying tournament this month but Arsenal kept him for the first-team - and Martinelli has not ruled out representing Italy.

(Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

But for now he is focused on his club football.

"I have Italian citizenship from my father. So I have the option of playing for Brazil or Italy," he told the Evening Standard.

"But that's just the future; I have to keep working here at Arsenal, and only then we will see what lies ahead."

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