Gabriel Martinelli’s Europa League double for Arsenal has raised questions over Manchester United’s recruitment – as the Red Devils rejected him two years ago.
Martinelli starred for Arsenal on Thursday, scoring two and setting up another as the Gunners routed Standard Liege 4-0 at the Emirates.
In contrast, United drew 0-0 away to AZ Alkmaar after failing to register a single shot on target throughout the game.
Martinelli’s double took his tally to four goals in three games since he joined from Brazilian club Ituano in the summer for what is fast starting to look like a bargain £6million.
The 18-year-old’s other two goals came in last week’s 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
In just none days, Martinelli has now scored double the number of goals that United’s Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood combined have registered from open play all season.
Greenwood has been fast-tracked into United’s first team aged just 17 after the club did not replace Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sanchez in the summer.
How United fans must have wished they had a forward in Martinelli’s form as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failed to test their Dutch opponents on Thursday.
They could even have had the man himself in their side after Martinelli had trials with United over a two-year period.
“Between 2015 and 2017 I went there (United) four times and trained for about 15 days,” Martinelli said after the win over Forest.
“I asked to take a picture with [Patrice] Evra, [Marouane] Fellaini and other guys. [Paul] Pogba knew I was Brazilian and asked if everything was okay with me and where I was playing.”
That was a pertinent question from Pogba, as Martinelli showed his versatility on Thursday by playing in a central role, when he sees himself – as does boss Unai Emery – as a winger.
Emery said after the win over Liege: “He prefers to play as a left winger – he also played as a right winger. I am using him as a striker because he played in that position in Brazil.
“Striker is not the best position for him. But the first thing in his mind is to help us.”