Manchester United turned down chance to sign Gabriel Martinelli as a teenager
Manchester United turned down the chance to sign winger Gabriel Martinelli a year before he was snapped up by Arsenal, the youngster has announced in an interview for The Players Tribune.
The Brazilian speedster was picked in his national team’s 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup following a breakthrough season under Mikel Arteta in which he has netted five times and created two goals in just 14 appearances.
Speaking about his long road from the streets of Brazil to the bright lights of the Premier League for The Players Tribune, Martinelli detailed how The Red Devils turned him down as a teenager before Arsenal came calling.
He said: “I used to be part of this project at Manchester United. I was actually there for several trials. I even met many of the senior players. When I was 17, I had my last session there, so I went back to Brazil waiting for news.
“One day my dad called me into the living room. He had spoken to my agent and well, United had said no.
“Not just, ‘No, for this year.’
“But, ‘No, we don’t want him. At all.'”
Manchester United fans will be tearing their hair out following the news that they could have secured the services of the Brazilian from a young age and transformed him into a United legend.
The fact he ended up at Arsenal makes it an even more bitter pill to swallow for all involved in the scouting department at Old Trafford.
Although still raw and not yet at the peak of his powers, Martinelli has so much potential to be a world-class forward due to his electric pace and ability to beat defenders one-on-one at a canter.
After very much being on the fringes of The Gunners team last year, the winger has become a mainstay in Arsenal’s starting XI this term and is a key factor in their ascension to the top of the Premier League table.
Mikel Arteta will want to extend the Brazilian’s contract beyond the current June 2024 date in the coming months as he looks to build a legacy at the Emirates Stadium.