Arsenal agree deal for first summer signing as Unai Emery swoops for former Manchester United target

24 Apr

Arsenal have reportedly beaten a host of clubs to sign Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli.

The Ituano forward was on trial at Manchester United in 2017, while Barcelona were also reportedly keen on making a move.

Unai Emery is ready to make his first move in the summer transfer window

However, according to Brazilian outlet UOL, the 17-year-old will become Arsenal’s first summer signing.

Martinelli will officially move to the Emirates once he turns 18 in June.

Unai Emery is said to have beaten off competition from a host of Brazilian clubs to the forward’s signature, with Flamengo, Santos and Cruzeiro also rumoured to have had an interest.

The report also claims Martinelli was offered to some of the Gunners’ domestic rivals in the Premier League but no other clubs made a move.

After making his professional debut last year, Martinelli scored six goals for Ituano in the Campeonato Paulista earlier in 2019.

Although he would be seen as a signing for the future by Emery, the talented teen can play on either flank.

Reports coming out of north London suggested the Spaniard will only have £40million to spend in the transfer market.

However, the Daily Mirror claim this figure could rise to £75million if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League.

Ronaldinho’s 14-year-old son Joao Mendes signs first professional contract with Brazilian club Cruzeiro

7 Apr

Ronaldinho’s 14-year-old son has been tipped to reach Cruzeiro’s first team after signing his first professional contract with the Brazilian club.

Joao Mendes, whose dad is former Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho, plays as a centre forward or just off the striker.

Ronaldinho (right) won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002

And there appear to be high hopes for the youngster, with Cruzeiro’s director of grassroots football Amarildo Roberio claiming Mendes has ‘high technical quality’, versatility, pace and deadly finishing.

Roberio told the club’s website: “Today, we signed the contract of Joao Mendes, who is a promising player with interesting characteristics and who, I believe, will soon be integrating with our professional team.

“He is a tall player with high technical quality. A player who can play both as a box player and as a second striker. He is a player who, even with his size, has speed and finishes very well.”

Mendes has been with Cruzeiro for a year. but on signing his pro deal he said: “It was the team that opened the door for me. I have a great affection for the club.

“The training is very good, the structure is very good. It’s the biggest club in Brazil and it’s a pleasure to play here.

“It’s a very happy day. Thanks to the board for the confidence you have given to me. I also thank God for me being able to play every day.

“It is a dream that one day I can sign the professional contact with Cruzeiro, play professionally, score a goal in the crowded Mineirao and dedicate it to the fans.”

Mendes said it is a pleasure to play for Cruzeiro
Cruzeiro YouTube

It is understood Mendes did not say he was Ronaldinho’s son when he first joined the club in a bid to impress on his own merits.

Ronaldinho had a glittering career – winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and playing for big clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan.