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Arsenal's Martinelli opens up on his favourite position, gaining 7kg and Jorginho's approach to swap Brazil for Italy

10:38 GMT 23/03/2022
Gabriel Martinelli Watford Arsenal Premier League 202122
The talented attacker is currently enjoying an impressive 2021-22 campaign at Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta

Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli has opened up on his favourite position and how he's gained 7kg since his arrival at Emirates Stadium, while also revealing that he was approached by Jorginho to switch international allegiance from Brazil to Italy.

Martinelli is currently enjoying his best season yet in an Arsenal shirt, having finally overcome the fitness issues that initially limited his contribution following a £6 million move from Ituano in 2019.

The 20-year-old is now a regular in Mikel Arteta's starting XI and playing a key role in the Gunners' push for a top-four Premier League finish, primarily as a left-winger.

What's been said?

Martinelli is a centre-forward by trade, but prefers playing on the left because it gives him more chances to cut in and drive towards the penalty area on his stronger right foot.

"I prefer to play on the sides, the left side specifically," the Brazilian has told Globo Esporte. "I like to reach the area with a chance to finish, so if the ball is on the left I'll be in a good position to score. 

"I can also play on the right side, but my favourite position is on the left wing, infiltrating and being as close to the goal as possible."

Martinelli feels he is now reaping the rewards of his extra work in the gym, which has given him the extra muscle to deal with the physical demands of English football.

"I arrived here weighing 68kg, today I have 75kg," he said. "That makes a lot of difference to fight for the ball. Of course, you don't want to lose speed, but I don't think I did, I just gained muscle mass. 

"You have to eat the right things too, that makes a lot of difference."

Martinelli reveals Jorginho approach

Martinelli is eligible to play for both Brazil and Italy at international level, but has so far only represented the former, most recently with the Under-23s at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Arsenal starlet could be in line for his first senior cap for the Selecao after being handed his maiden call-up ahead of their latest set of World Cup qualifiers.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, who also has dual citizenship but chose to represent Italy, tried to convince Martinelli to join the Azzurri earlier in his career, but he's only ever had eyes for Brazil.

"I had already put that aside. As I've said before, my dream was to play for Brazil, I was just waiting for the opportunity," he said.

"No player spoke to me [about a switch], only Jorginho once said 'I hope to see you in March', something like that, but no one else spoke to me."

The talented attacker added on being selected for Tite's latest Brazil squad: "I still had hope, I was doing my best at Arsenal, doing my job to dig out an opportunity. 

"Thank God the opportunity came, I'll try to make the best of it."

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