It’s going to hard to protect Arsenal new young sensation Gabriel Martinelli from the hype, which you sense is only going to increase.
A year ago he was a unknown teenager, now there is talk of Arsenal wanting to triple his salary to fend of suitors like Real Madrid.
The likes of Adidas might be viewing him as the new poster boy of the club and now two of the game’s most decorated national sides might be about to fight over him.
Arteta will want to protect the kid from what comes with all of this speculation, but it will be hard.
Anelka was the classic example, a teen who should have stayed under Arsene Wenger’s guidance, but didn’t have the right people advising him.
Most South American’s seem to have the same dream. They come across as more patriotic to play for their country, as well as having ambitions to play for one of Spain’s big boys (it would be nice if we were allowed a few seasons to have him at the Emirates).
Look how the likes of Brazil and Argentina take the Olympics more seriously than their European counterparts. Neymar and Messi were both in tears when they won a gold medal. That’s why, selfishly, some gooners might like the news he’s not ruling out representing Italy.
If you’re a manager in England, during international breaks you would rather your player have Italy’s schedule.
We used to see with Alexis Sanchez that he wouldn’t be getting back from World Cup qualifiers or Copa America’s till the Friday, meaning it was best not to start him that weekend.
While Italy are a part of Euro 2020, that’s less travel with the majority of knock out fixtures in the UK or neighbouring countries.
The Olympic Games in Tokyo means anyone taking part misses our pre-season. Our manager has already said he wants to consult others to see what the regulations are, but it would be hard to deny the youngster the opportunity, especially when you consider how fanatical Brazilians are about representing their nation.
Officially the line is he simply wasn’t called up for qualifiers going on, but there are rumours that’s more convenient for all parties at this time. That might not be the case come July, especially if his brilliant form continues.
He describes wearing the yellow jersey of Brazil a dream, the Italian one an option based on his passport. If he failed to break into his first choice, playing for the Azzuri is quite a decent back up plan. Yet you sense talk of playing for Italy is a quiet warning to Brazil to not take too long giving him a cap.
If we had Brazil’s next number 9, he would be a marketing dream.