The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has made contact with representatives of Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli with a view to having the young Brazilian snub the country of his birth and instead pledge his allegiance to the Italy national team.
Martinelli was born in the Brazilian city of Guarulhos in the state of Sao Paolo, but it has emerged that he is eligible for an Italian passport through his father, and the Azzurri are keen to sign up the 18-year-old as he has not yet turned out for the Selecao.
Brazil national team coach Tite did actually call-up the youngster to join pre-tournament training ahead of the 2019 Copa America, which Brazil went on to win, but the trip was merely to have Martinelli and a select few other starlets get experience in a national team set-up.
Tite’s former right-hand man, Edu, is now director of football at Arsenal, could well step in to convince the player to reject Italy’s proposal, though it is understood that Martinelli has not yet ruled anything out.
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