Arsenal star has opened up on his trials at , admitting he felt lost after he was rejected by the Old Trafford club.
The Brazilian forward travelled to Manchester in 2015 and would make several more visits over the next two years to participate in training sessions at Carrington under the watchful eye of United coaches.
United did not follow up on that initial interest, with Martinelli returning to Brazil where he soon signed his first professional deal with Ituano.
In 2019, Arsenal made their move, bringing the forward to the Emirates in a deal worth just £6million.
Martinelli scored twice on his first competitive start for the club and has since grown into an integral member of Mikel Arteta’s first-team with the Gunners top of the Premier League after their best ever start to a campaign.
In an interview with the , Martinelli spoke at length about his experience with United, revealing he had been desperate to join the 20-time Premier League champions since the age of 13.
‘There was a project with Manchester United, I did some trials there. It didn’t work out but I went four or five times there.,’ Martinelli said.
‘Manchester United had some scouts in Brazil and they saw me playing, they had a meeting with my father, and then it worked out.
‘Then there was this time I met [Paul] Pogba, and Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] was another time, when I was already a little older, I think it was the third time I went. And that was a project for when I turned 18. If they really wanted to, I would move.
‘We saw that… but when I arrived at 17, which was the last time I went to Manchester, I went back to Brazil, and they said they didn’t want me, so that was it, I would come home to practice.
‘I think it was very important for me, even though I got a no, but it was very important to know how football works here, how things are here, so when I came permanently to Arsenal, I think I was a little more used to it. I already knew how things were here, I already knew a little about the culture too.
‘Since I was 13 I’ve had this project with Manchester, I’ve always had it in my head, “Hey, I’m going to Manchester, whatever, when I turn 18.” Then when you reach this age, in the year you are 17, the guys say, “Hey, we don’t want it anymore.” I said, “Hey, what am I going to do now?’
United’s loss has been Arsenal’s gain, with Martinelli part of Brazil’s World Cup squad in Brazil having scored five goals for the Gunners this season.
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