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Arsenal transfer news: Gunners target Douglas Mendes as Edu aims to repeat Martinelli trick

Steve Kay
Steve Kay

  • Updated: 8 Mar 2024 22:22 GMT
  • 3 min read
Douglas Mendes, Arsenal, Liefering, 2023/24
© IMAGO

Arsenal are following Douglas Mendes, a teenage defender who turns out for Red Bull Bragantino in Brazil, FootballTransfers can exclusively reveal.

The Gunners have previously raided Brazil for top young talent, with Gabriel Martinelli notably arriving from Ituano in 2019 for €7.1 million.

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Mendes’ situation is a little different, however, in that he is a registered player with Red Bull Salzburg and is only on loan back in his homeland.

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Sporting director Edu has one eye on the 19-year-old centre-back, with FootballTransfers told the Gunners’ official is an admirer of the youngster.

The 2004-born Mendes made his debut in Brazil’s Serie B with Ponte Preta before moving to the Red Bull stable with Bragantino.

He subsequently moved on loan to Liefering in Austria’s second tier and then completed a permanent switch to Red Bull Salzburg in July 2023 but remained on loan with the lower-league outfit.

READ MORE: Gordon goal and Odegaard handball: Arsenal’s controversial VAR decisions this season

Edu and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
© IMAGO – Edu and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

In January, he completed a switch back to Bragantino until the end of 2024.

Mendes’ situation is not ideal for Arsenal if they wish to complete an imminent transfer.

In fact, a deal will be impossible, with the teenager not eligible for a UK work permit. In order for that situation to change, he will need to accumulate more first-team experience, which may be possible at Bragantino.

After starting the season on the bench, he featured from the beginning of three of four Serie A matches before an injury in a 1-0 win over Ituano on February 24 forced him to the sidelines.

READ MORE: The Chelsea and Man Utd target Arsenal must sign as Zinchenko’s replacement

No work permit? No problem

That Mendes isn’t eligible for a work permit in the UK should not be considered too alarming for Arsenal fans.

Had Brexit been completed at the time the Gunners signed Martinelli, the winger would not have been eligible to join the club. Now he is recognised as an automatic starter at the Emirates Stadium.

This time around, with the UK’s new work permit regulations, Arsenal may need to be more patient.

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