Arsenal news: Italy hoping to persuade Gabriel Martinelli to snub Brazil – Metro.co.uk

Gabriel Martinelli lines up for Arsenal ahead of their match against Standard Liege
Gabriel Martinelli is wanted by Italy after an eye-catching start to his Arsenal career (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli could have a decision to make regarding his international future after being contacted by the Italian Football Federation.

The 18-year-old hasn’t featured for Brazil – the country of his birth – at any level although he was invited to train with Tite’s squad before this summer’s Copa America.

Italy are hoping to take advantage of Martinelli failing to feature for Brazil by persuading him to represent them instead as he is eligible to play for the Azzurri through his father.

Gabriel Martinelli celebrates after scoring for Arsenal against Standard Liege
Martinelli scored twice for Arsenal during their 4-0 win against Standard Liege (Picture: Getty)

Former Manchester City manager and current Italy boss Roberto Mancini admitted his interest in getting Martinelli on board ahead of games against Greece and Lichtenstein next week.

Mancini told the Italian press: ‘As for Martinelli, it’s not so easy to apply to play for Italy.

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‘We need to wait for players with two passports. In the meantime, we’ll continue to exchange [Ciro] Immobile with [Andrea] Belotti.’

If Italy were successful in their pursuit of Martinelli, he would become the third Brazil-born player within their ranks, alongside Chelsea duo Emerson Palmieri and Jorginho.

Emerson represented Brazil at U17 level in the 2011 World Cup before declaring for Italy in 2017, while Jorginho was uncapped at any level for Selecao prior to his Italy debut in 2016.

Italy’s interest in Martinelli has come as a result of his promising early performances for Arsenal since his summer move from Sao Paulo-based outfit Ituano.

Martinelli has scored four goals in as many games for Unai Emery’s side so far this season, netting two goals apiece in games against Nottingham Forest and Standard Liege.

The youngster’s impressive performances in the cup competitions have boosted his claims for Premier League involvement and he featured for half an hour against Bournemouth on Sunday.

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