I am happy to hold my hands up and say I was wrong with this one.
When we signed Martinelli, I wrote an honest blog about how I signing and 18-year-old from Brazil sent out a “negative message to the Arsenal Academy”.
Now when we signed him, I had not seen him play. Never heard of him. And anyone that claims to have watched him previously to us signing him is a liar.
The clubs original plan for Martinelli was to stick him in the academy. For him to be part of the development squad.
I questioned what message this would put out to a very talented group of young local lads – Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Xavier Amaechi, Bukayo Saka, Tyreece John-Jules and Florian Balogun.
Surely it would be better to give the chance to a guy that had been with the club since he was 6-years-old? By adding an unknown kid from Brazil to this group get a little wrong. A little dirty.
My view point was, and still is, that players from abroad should be bought in at 18 to improve the first team squad, not the U21s.
But I did not know what a talent we had on our hands. And in all honesty I do not think the club fully knew either.
Martinelli ended up not playing in the academy and was instead very quickly promoted to the first team squad. Three years later and he is closing in on 100 appearances for The Arsenal.
Of that group of players I name checked, Bukayo Saka has is the only one to become a first team regular. This reinforces the saying that “if you are good enough you will get your chance”.
Since that blog, I have written a lot on Martinelli. All praise. For me he could emulate what Alexis Sanchez did at the club. And in him and Saka we have two of the brighter young players in Europe (still).
So Gabi, whilst I still do not agree with foreign lads joining the academy at 18-years-old, you proved to everyone that you were better than that.
In blogging, we make snap judgments to stay relevant. And occasionally our initial viewpoint will be wrong.
I probably should have apologised early to Martinelli, but I’d forgotten I wrote the blog until I was searching for another.
I will “hold that L” as the kids say.