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Arsenal sign Brazilian teenager, Martinelli, bid £40m for Zaha

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Gabriel Martinelli


Arsenal have signed 18-year-old Brazilian forward, Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano Futebol Clube for an undisclosed fee, the Londoners announced yesterday.

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, reports AFP.“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,” he told the Arsenal website.

Martinelli becomes Arsenal’s first new recruit of the summer, while a reported £40 million ($50 million) bid from the Gunners for Wilfried Zaha has been rejected by Crystal Palace.The Eagles, who sold right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a deal worth up to £50 million to Manchester United earlier this week, are believed to value Zaha at £80 million.

However, Zaha’s brother has pleaded with Palace to let him join the club he supported as a boy. Judicael Zaha told Sky Sports: “Given all that Wilfried has given to Crystal Palace to help them remain a Premier League club, I hope Palace will be able to see their way to agreeing a deal with Arsenal that allows Wilfried to realise his dream of playing European football for the club he’s supported since childhood.”

Zaha is currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast and scored in a 4-1 win over Namibia on Monday to help them reach the last 16.Reports yesterday said Arsenal only bid £40 million for Zaha because the player told them they are the only club he wants to join, reckons former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders.

“Obviously he’s got to be valued at miles more than that as a winger come striker come number ten, wherever he wants to play.“He goes past people for fun, he’s been playing great the last two years.“I’m trying to value him in my head now, he’s probably got to be worth £100m.

“The only way they can [offer £40m] with confidence is if they’ve had a conversation with Wilfried Zaha and he’s said to them ‘I’m only going to Arsenal. Don’t worry, if Man United come in for me, if Man City come in for me, I’ll give you my word, I want to come and sign for you’.

“So they can offer whatever they want then, they can put that offer in thinking ‘well he’s coming to us’.“Player-power now has got to the point where it’s total power to the players.“Wilfried Zaha would probably threaten them to say ‘if you make me come back for pre-season, I can’t promise you I’m going to be the same player if you stop me going to Arsenal’. I’m not saying he’s said that.
“I would imagine he will end up going for £80m.”

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