“I thank God for coming to Arsenal”
Gabriel Martinelli has opened up on his trip to Arsenal after revealing Manchester United and Barcelona passed up the chance to sign him.
The Gunners paid £6m for the 21-year-old from Brazil fourth-tier side Ituano in 2019.
And after multiple injury setbacks, the youngster is now one of the first names on the squad roster having become a key player under Mikel Arteta.
He helped propel the north London side to the top of the Premier League table after scoring five goals and two assists in 14 appearances.
His fine form also earned him a spot in Brazil’s World Cup squad for Qatar.
But things could have ended differently for Martinelli, who spent time on trial at United and Barcelona.
Speaking to The Player’s Tribune, he said: “I thank God for coming to Arsenal in 2019.
“I really believe that things happen for a reason, and I’m so happy here. It’s funny looking back now, because I could so easily have ended up somewhere else.
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“There was a project with Manchester United. I did some tests there. It didn’t work but I went there four or five times.
“Manchester United had scouts in Brazil, then they saw me play. They had a meeting with my dad and it worked out.
“Then there was that time I met [Paul] Pogba. Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] Was there another time when I was a bit older, I think it was the third or fourth try.
“It was a project for my 18th birthday. If they really wanted to, I would move. We saw that.
“But when I was 17 – that was the last time I went to Manchester – I went back to Brazil and they said they didn’t want me, so that was it. I was going back to home to practice.
“I think it was very important for me, even though I received a ‘no’. But it was very important to know how football works [in England]how are things.
“So when I definitely came to Arsenal, I think I was a bit more used to it. I knew how things were here and I also knew a bit about the culture.
“Ever since I was young I had this project with Manchester United, so in my head I was kind of like, ‘hey, I’m going to Manchester, whatever, when I’m 18’.
“Then when you reach the age, in the year you’re 17, the guy says, ‘hey, we don’t want this anymore’. I said, ‘hey, what the hell am I am I going to do now?’
Martinelli went on to reveal that he trained at Barcelona’s famed academy, La Masia, alongside Ansu Fati who is considered one of Spain’s top talents.
He added: “The end of the year I went to La Masia in Barcelona.
“I practiced with Ansu Fati when I went there. We became friends and I stayed there for 15 days.
“That didn’t work eight, they didn’t want me. It was easier to accept, because it was just a trial.
“But during or five months later Arsenal signed me.”
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