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Arsenal star Martinelli close to signing contract extension amid Barcelona transfer interest - report

19:17 GMT 20/12/2022
Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2022-23
One of Barcelona's rumoured transfer deals has taken a blow, with Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli reportedly close to agreeing a new deal.
  • Martinelli nearing new deal at Arsenal
  • Barcelona lose major transfer target
  • Kante, Moukoko both possible options

WHAT HAPPENED? Barcelona had been reportedly scouting Martinelli for months and had enquired about his availability prior to the World Cup. With the Brazilian winger's contract set to expire in 2024, it seemed like he might be available. But those hopes are soon to be squashed, as Martinelli and Arsenal appear to be close to an agreement that will keep the winger in north London until 2027, according to reports from Sport.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Barcelona are said to have coveted Martinelli for some months, hoping to add extra quality to their left wing. At just 21, and in the midst of a breakout season, the Brazilian is one of the most promising attacking players in Europe. But Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta holds Martinelli in high regard, and following a knee injury to talismanic striker Gabriel Jesus, Martinelli projects to be even more crucial.

But there is some good news for Barca. Another reported target, Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko appears likely to be available. Meanwhile, N'Golo Kante is reportedly close to agreeing terms on a pre-contract ahead of a free transfer this summer.

WHAT THEY SAID?: Martinelli has repeatedly expressed his desire to stay in London, telling Sky Sports in November: "I’m very happy at Arsenal, I’ve said it many times. This is my club. I love to be here. I love the city. I love everything about Arsenal. So I want to stay. I’m very happy... Just need to get a pen and sign."

Those comments followed a period when Arteta repeatedly dodged questions on Martinelli's contract status.


WHAT NEXT FOR BARCELONA? Although constrained financially, the club is expected to explore options in the January transfer window. With players such as Memphis Depay soon to depart, there could be some movement in the Camp Nou in the weeks and months to come. Martinelli, it appears, won't be part of any plans.