Finally...Brazilian Centre-Back Gabriel Magalhães has signed for Arsenal in a deal believed to be worth around £27million. The 22-year-old was very high up on the Gunners' target list, and with negotiations going on for the last several weeks, they have finally got their man!

The club would have no doubt felt relieved once Gabriel eventually put pen to paper on his five-year deal, Napoli and Manchester United showed solid interest in the player, but both Technical Director Edu Gaspar and Head Coach Mikel Arteta played a big role in convincing the player that Arsenal were the right team for him.


Gabriel beats new Arsenal signing Willian in the air - AFP via Getty Images   


Football Journalist Francesco Porzio, who works closely with Fabrizio Romano and Di Marzio, told me: 'Arsenal were always on top of this one, they were confident but remained cautious. It was a super difficult deal as many other clubs were interested in him.' 

So, why was there so much interest in Gabriel and why was he one of Arsenal's top priorities this summer? I asked French Football Writer Jeremy Smith (jeremysmith98) a few questions to find out...


What type of player will Arsenal be getting in Gabriel Magalhães?

'An intelligent young left-sided centre back who has really impressed since breaking into the Lille first team.'


What's the story of his career so far and how did he do last season?

'Lille signed him as an unknown 18-year-old from Brazilian second division side Avai in a move that went under the radar. He had two very unnotable short loan spells, first with Ligue 1 Troyes, where he barely played as they were relegated, then to Dinamo Zagreb, mainly turning out for their B team.

But he was brought into the first team in early 2019 to cover for team captain Adama Soumaoro, and has barely missed a match since, helping Lille to qualify for Champions League and then last season helping the team cope with losing some important players and contending with the extra European matches and still maintaining good levels to finish fifth (Lille looked likely to move into the Champions League places before Covid intervened and the season was cut short).'


How well do you think he will fit in at Arsenal in terms of style of play, is he comfortable on the ball, a good passer etc?

'I think he'll fit in really well. My feeling from the outside is that Arsenal have lacked an indisputable centre back pairing and defensive midfielder for some years now. In Gabriel and Saliba they have two young talents who, if they fulfil all their potential, could look after the CB roles for a few years to come.

Like Saliba, Gabriel is also comfortable on the ball, less likely to try to dribble it out but with a good pass on him. The justification for all of Luiz's errors is that he is needed because he can pass the ball. In Gabriel you have a more solid defender, who can pass to, who can play on the left side of the central defence - and who could even cover at left back or defensive midfield at a push.'


What are his strengths and weaknesses?

'He is strong, quite quick, reads the game well, has good aerial ability and can pass the ball out. He seems to have a good temperament and discipline and nascent leadership qualities. It is easy to forget that he is still only 22, but has the potential to grow into a top-class defender. And I guess that is where the weakness lies: he has only played 40 top flight matches.

And while he has handled his quick ascent very well, it is perhaps still too early to draw any lasting conclusions into how far he can go and how good he can be. Many players have burst onto the scene and shone brightly, only to quickly dim and plateau into something more average. Signing a player so early into their career can always be a risk.'


Finally, what is your personal opinion on Gabriel and how well do you see him doing in the Premier League, should Arsenal fans be excited?

'My personal opinion is that he will continue his upward progression and will be able to adapt relatively quickly to the Premier League. He has the physicality, the intelligence and the temperament to succeed and, in he and Saliba, I think that Arsenal have two potentially excellent centre backs who could complement each other extremely well - definitely reason for Arsenal fans to be excited.'


Well, I don't know about you, but I am indeed excited about this signing! I have spoken to Jeremy regarding Gabriel a couple of times now and he has been full of praise for him. I must admit, I haven't seen much of the player in action, but those who watch him regularly believe he has what it takes to become a top class Defender - there's a reason why many clubs were after his signature.

It's encouraging to hear that Gabriel has all of the important attributes to settle in at Arsenal and the Premier League rather swiftly too. Being quick, tall, strong and composed are all big benefits, so I don't envision him having any problems there.

However, as Jeremy also mentioned, he is still only 22 and we can't expect too much from him too soon. Just like Saliba, he will need time to adjust to a new league and a new team, but both players have huge potential and I am confident it wont take them long to shine in the famous red and white.

I thank Jeremy for taking the time to give all of us the lowdown on Gabriel Magalhães.