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Arsenal sign Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli

Highly-rated 18-year-old arrives at Arsenal vowing to take his 'opportunity', but bid for Palace forward Zaha is laughed off

05 July, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli has added his name to the Arsenal attack

ARSENAL finally kicked off their summer spending this week when they bagged Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano Futebol Clube for an undisclosed fee.

It might not be the marquee signing that supporters were hoping for, but the 18-year-old certainly isn’t lacking in confidence as he revealed that he models his game on one of the greatest footballers the game has ever seen.

“I am a player who gives his all at all times. I play as a team and am always looking to win games and win trophies,” said Martinelli after agreeing “a long-term contract” on Tuesday.

“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.”

Quizzed on the players he looks up to, he added, “Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar, as they are players who can decide games and are very professional, who dedicate themselves to the whole game.”

Martinelli scored 10 goals in 34 appearances for Sao Paulo-based club Ituano and was called up for a training camp with the senior Brazil squad ahead of the Copa America.

Looking ahead to life at the Emirates Stadium, the pacey forward said: “It’s a very big moment. I am very grateful for everything, I am grateful to God and I will try to make the most out of it.

“It is a dream since I was a child and also my family’s dream for me to be playing in Europe and playing for a big team like Arsenal. I am going to take this opportunity.”

Arsenal are reportedly preparing an improved offer for Wilfried Zaha. Any deal seems a long way off, however, after the Gunners’ opening bid of £40million quickly became one of the jokes of the week.

Crystal Palace value their star player at nearer £100m and rejected the initial approach on Monday, with chairman Simon Jordan calling the offer “a liberty”.

Zaha, 26, is currently in action at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast. Asked about the speculation linking him with the club he supported as a child, Zaha said: “I don’t know, we’ll see in the future. I have no comment on it.”

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