Arsenal have reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Brazilian club Ituano for the transfer of teenage winger Gabriel Martinelli.

Yahoo Esportes have claimed that Arsenal have stolen a march on other big clubs and suitors in the race to sign Gabriel Martinelli. The Gunners have reportedly reached a verbal agreement with Ituano to sign the teenage winger, who has been courting interest from Barcelona and several other European clubs.

The report mentions that Arsenal have, in fact, beaten 25 other clubs in the race to sign Martinelli, which just goes to show the level of talent that the Gunners might be adding to their squad. The deal isn’t entirely done yet. While there is a verbal agreement between the two clubs, Ituano and Arsenal are yet to come to terms on the transfer fee.

Arsenal were ready to offer £5 million, according to earlier reports. But, Ituano want £8 million for the 17-year-old attacking ace, who was one of the stars in the Paulista Championship, wherein the Brazilian club finished second courtesy of six goals in the tournament from Martinelli.

If and when the deal does happen, Martinelli isn’t allowed to move to Europe till June 18, when he turns 18.

Among the teams that Arsenal have beaten, Barcelona are top on the list. The Catalans, along with Manchester United, were the clubs to show interest for the first time in the 17-year-old ace and had even brought him into Europe for trials at their respective clubs.

While there has been no update of interest from Manchester United, reports say Barcelona have continued to monitor Martinelli and are one of the ’25 clubs’ Arsenal have managed to beat in the race to land the 17-year-old winger.

In recent times, Brazilian youngsters have been breaking the myth that they need to grow in their own surroundings and get a year or two of top-tier football under their belt before moving to Europe, especially the Premier League. The success of Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus is proof enough that they can have an instant impact, even in the league touted as the most competitive one in Europe.

Arsenal’s budget restrictions mean Martinelli could prove to be a masterstroke by Unai Emery and his team. The winger, who will turn 18 before the new season, might just be the solution to the lack of out-and-out wingers in the Gunners squad right now. A shrewd investment, regardless of how it pans out for the club and the player going forward.

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