Arsenal have secured their first signing of the summer in the form of Marquinhos – and they have FIFA to thank for the deal.
The Gunners confirmed on Monday that they have snapped up the 19-year-old winger on a long-term contract from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo. And it appears Mikel Arteta's men have bagged themselves a bargain.
The Brazilian starlet joins for a cut-price fee, understood to be in the region of £3million, after Arsenal exploited some contract complications involving the teenager. The Gunners have paid out pittance to sign Marquinhos, but only because FIFA clamped down on Sao Paulo's attempts to tie him down to a long-term deal back in 2019.
According to Planet Football, back then, Sao Paulo sought to hand the talented teenager a five-year deal in order to keep him at the club until 2024. However, following FIFA's intervention, such deal was dismissed.
The international governing body refused to accept the lengthy contract as Marquinhos was just 16 years of age when he put pen to paper. The terms of his agreement were therefore only valid for three of those years, and after the Brazilian attacker rejected the club's offers over an extension, he found himself free to leave for nothing this summer.
However, Arsenal's technical director, Edu, has evidently refused to exploit the contract uncertainty to such an extent. According to Sao Paulo director Carlos Belmonte, the Gunners chief insisted on paying out a transfer fee, albeit it a piffling price, in order to strengthen the bond between the two clubs.
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A particularly grateful Belmonte told Gazeta Esportiva: “We have a spectacular relationship with Edu Gaspar, who told us that he knew that Marquinhos could leave for free, but that he was still going to look for funds to pay for São Paulo, because he wants to have a relationship with São Paulo. He wants to be closer to eventually be able to bring younger players from Sao Paulo to Arsenal.”
Following the announcement that Arsenal had completed a deal for Marquinhos, Edu himself told Arsenal's club website: “We’re delighted to have completed the transfer with Sao Paulo, as Marquinhos was a player we had been watching for a while. At 19, he is still very young, so he is a player for the future. We look forward to Marquinhos now joining us for pre-season, making his new home, and continuing to grow and develop with us.”
After being handed his Sao Paulo debut by none other than Hernan Crespo in July 2021, Marquinhos went on to make 33 first-team appearances for the Brazilian outfit. The young forward, who has represented Brazil at both under-16 and under-17 levels, is due to travel to London in the coming weeks to join up with the rest of Arteta's ranks.
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