We have our first signing of the summer! Hazaar!
Gabriel Martinelli joins us from Ituano and hopefully it’s not the ‘Petr Cech solo summer signing’ of a few years back, but it is still good to see a new face in at the club. A new face who models himself on Cristiano Ronaldo and if he can have the same career trajectory then we’ll all be happy with that. He’s a wide left/centre forward and at 18 I think the expectation from most of the Arsenal fanbase is that he’s probably a guy who will get a bit of time with the first team but by and large it’s likely he’ll go out on loan at some stage next season.
That’s not a forgone conclusion though I don’t think. Just look at what happened with Matteo Guendouzi last season. Nobody expected him to come from a lower league French team and then become so relied on in the Arsenal team from last season. Yet he managed to establish himself as a regular and in the middle of the park we now have another option and a player who should only get better for next season. Or that’s at least what we hope.
Martinelli may see Guendouzi as a perfect case study for his establishment at The Arsenal but if he’s going to model himself on Cristiano, then he won’t have much time to establish himself. Ronaldo was in the United team at 18 having started at Sporting Lisbon at 16. Martinelli has started at perhaps a little less pressurised of a club in Ituano, but he has certainly bagged the ‘goals and performances as a teenager’ badge and so he’s on the right path.
But this next 18 months are crucial. If he has a good summer and integrates well the manager might see him as an option from the bench in the League Cup and the Europa League group stages. If he continues to impress he could then earn a loan move or even stay with the first team. If that is his trajectory then it will have meant we have one heck of a player on our hands and only then can we probably start asking questions about whether he looks like the second coming of the second Ronaldo.
Adaptation at this early stage in his career will be key. He’s joined a foreign country where he doesn’t speak the lingo, is far from friends and family, plus he’s from South America where it’s nice and warm. I hope somebody told him about our wet November’s and cold January’s!
As usual there’s a lot of hope that he can be the ‘next big thing’ but I’m cautious about getting too excited these days. We’ve seen it with the Asano’s, the Wellington Silva’s and the Fran Merida’s; a player hyped at a young age that never develops. Often it’s a mixture of fortune i.e. not picking up long injuries, or of application, but what is good to read is him repeatedly talking about hard work and that he sees how hard Ronaldo works and wants to model himself on that approach. All sounds great but only time will tell if that becomes a reality.
The positive of his situation is that he also doesn’t need a visa due to his Italian nationality from one of his parents and so that i’m sure saved plenty of hassle during the signing process. Which is just as well really because this needs to be the first of a few signings we need sorted soon and with the transfer window closing before the first game of the season this year, that gives us a little over a month to make the kind of signings that will have us all hoping – nay, praying – that Arsenal have a better season than last time out. So Raul needs to get his skates on to confirm a few deals and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.
There’s talks about this Brahimi lad from Porto and on a free transfer and with us once again shopping bargain basement, I can understand where the links come from, but he’s hardly the eye-catching player we are all hoping for so hopefully that’s a speculative fourth, fifth or even sixth choice if we don’t get our other options. And we have to hope there are other options because we do need to replace Ramsey, we do need another right back, we’re hoping for a left back and everyone knows we want to get Saliba from St Etienne. There are deals there to be done but Arsenal need to get them over the line and as we all know that, with Arsenal, is never a simple task.
So we wait…still…ever impatient….but let’s hope the back end of this week starts to see some breakthroughs.
Catch you all tomorrow