According to The Hartlepool Mail, Middlesbrough and Leeds target Gabriel Martinelli is set to sign for Premier League giants Arsenal.

Ituano striker Martinelli was reportedly a target for Championship duo Leeds United and Middlesbrough, but reports suggest the Brazilian teenager prefers a move to the top flight – with Arsenal looking the most likely destination.

The 17-year old currently plays in his native Brazil, for Ituano, a side owned by Middlesbrough legend Juninho Paulista. It is believed that the former-Boro midfielder had informed the Teesside club’s scouting network about Martinelli, and that they were in pole position to sign the striker.

However, with the guarantee of Premier League football a more attractive proposition, and a reported fee of £7 million on the table, Arsenal could be the side to snap up the in-demand wonderkid.

Manchester United were also keen on the youngster, and Martinelli had even trained with the Red Devils. He also spent time at Barcelona’s training ground, although nothing materialised.

Both Leeds and Middlesbrough will now have to turn their attention to other targets ahead of this summers’ transfer window, although all could hinge on whether or not either side achieves promotion to the Premier League.

Leeds currently have Patrick Bamford, Tyler Roberts and Kemar Roofe at their disposal, and would be looking to add more firepower if they do reach the Premier League. Equally, Tony Pulis’ side have Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede on their books, with Jordan Hugill on loan from West Ham and Martin Braithwaite temporarily playing in La Liga.


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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook

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