Arsenal leading race for 'the next Vinicius Jr' – thanks to Edu Gaspar: report

Arsenal Director of Football Edu before the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Bournemouth, England.
(Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal are in a stronger position than the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona to land the next big superstar from Brazil. 

That's according to reports that suggest that the South American revolution is set to continue at the Emirates Stadium, a year after Arsenal added a jewel to their crown in the shape of Gabriel Jesus.

The Gunners also boast the likes of defender Gabriel and wide man Gabriel Martinelli alongside Brazil-born Jorginho and youngster Marquinhos, currently on loan at Norwich City – with sporting director Edu Gaspar partly responsible for the samba influence in north London.

Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal celebrate together at full-time of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa on 31 August, 2022 at the Emirates Stadium in London, United Kingdom.

Arsenal have a number of standout Brazilian stars these days (Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Previously the general coordinator of the Brazil national team, Edu has used contacts with figures in the Brazilian game to further Arsenal's connection with his homeland, signing Marquinhos last summer on a bargain deal and helping Martinelli to settle with countrymen alongside him.

Now, according to Brazilian outlet, Torcedores, the Gunners are scouting wonderkid playmaker Matheus Franca of Flamengo, with an eye to bringing him to Europe. Touted as the next big star from the Rubro-Negro's production line following Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr, it's Arsenal who are leading the charge not just for his signature, but other stars, too. 

The Gunners are leading the race for much sought-after youngster Vitor Roque, according to the Daily Mail, while according to Calciomercato, Marcos Leonardo is on the radar.

Having developed Gabriel Martinelli from a teenager into one of the best forwards in the Premier League is proof for future deals that Arsenal can transform South American talents into Premier League-quality stars – and it's exciting for fans that Edu's contacts are positioning the north Londoners as genuine contenders for these signings alongside the Spanish giants who traditionally bring these players to Europe. 

Arsenal director Edu Gaspar

Arsenal now have a proven track record of developing Brazilian talent (Image credit: Getty)

The United Kingdom leaving the European Union has opened the door for more non-EU stars to join at the age of 18. While Spain and Portugal were previously the best fits for youngsters, given the similarity in culture, Arsenal can now offer a South American core at their London Colney base which has also included Willian and David Luiz in recent years. 

Franca is valued at €5 million by Transfermarkt

More Arsenal stories

Ray Parlour says that since football moves in cycles, the next era of dominance in the Premier League could well belong to Arsenal.

Andre Onana is being rumoured for Arsenal's midfield, Bundesliga star Djibril Sow and Dusan Vlahovic have been touted, while existing players are said to be on the cusp of exits. Folarin Balogun is one, being linked with AC Milan.

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.