Man Utd had chance to sign highly-rated Arsenal forward

Manchester United missed the chance to sign Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli on four separate occasions when the Brazilian was still in the formative stage of his senior career.

His stock is on the rise again having played prominently during the Gunners’ impressive run of form which has pulled them to within a touching distance of a UEFA Champions League qualifying place.

He shot to prominence during his first campaign in north London when the South American was a virtual unknown having been signed on the recommendation of reputable scout Francis Cagigao.

A serious knee injury picked up in training in 2020 had severely stunted the player’s progress, but Gabriel is once more to the fore and set for an increasingly important role during the next several of months in light of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit.

Their gain, however, has been the Red Devils’ loss with Martinelli revealing he underwent four different trials with them during his teenage years.

Recalling the way his switch to Arsenal three years ago was finalised, Gabriel told The Athletic: ‘Then my agent said we need to take a decision.

‘When he said Arsenal, I said, ‘OK, you do not need to say anything else, we are going to London’. My dad and I had watched the Premier League together, all the teams, like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester.

‘I actually had four different trials at United when I was 13, 14, 15 and 16. This was in Manchester at the club’s training base, where I played in the same age group as Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams, and I met first-team players, like Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra.

‘There was never a moment, though, when they said they wanted me (to sign) there.”