Arsenal will confirm the signing of Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes for £27 million in the coming days.
The Gunners were expected to confirm the transfer earlier in the window, but Manchester United’s interest delayed the move.
However, the Independent has reported that the Brazilian will become an Arsenal player sooner rather than later.
Journalist Nicolo Schira has also confirmed the deal, stating that Gabriel will cost €30 million and that he will sign a contract until 2025.
Done deal! #GabrielMagalhaes to #Arsenal from #Lille. #Gunners will pay him €30M to #LOSC. For the brazilian centre-back ready a contract until 2025 (€3M/year). #transfers #AFC https://t.co/fHV980YLGh
— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) August 21, 2020
United had contacted Gabriel’s camp last week, just as Arsenal were growing increasingly confident of securing his signature.
While they continue to ask the player to delay a move, the Red Devils have yet to lodge an official bid.
This allowed the Gunners to strike and seal a deal, which, barring any late twists, will be announced early next week.
Gabriel had also been strongly linked to Napoli, as well as PSG and Everton.
A promising defender
For a sum of just £27 million, Arsenal will get one of the world’s best young defenders.
Gabriel is just 22-years-old and had an incredibly promising season with Lille in 2019/20.
He has very good tackle numbers, despite being the more passive member of his partnership with Jose Fonte.
This shows that if he gets targeted, he is well capable of coming away with the ball. It also shows that he is intelligent enough to read passes and is composed enough to intercept them.
He is also very good on the ball, making 3.7 long balls per game, with a pass accuracy of 82.2%.
He stands at an impressive 190cm but is incredibly quick to go with his natural physicality. This is one of his best attributes.
Like every young centre-back, he has things to work on from both the tactical and general awareness side of things. But this will get better as he gets older.
Arsenal seem to have picked up a great young centre-back who will only get better, for a very reasonable fee.
Where does he fit in at The Emirates?
Gabriel will become the eighth centre-back at Arsenal. At least three of these should be sold, if not four.
In William Saliba, Arsenal have another incredibly promising young central defender joining ahead of the new season.
He was signed from Saint-Etienne last summer before spending the season there on loan and is expected to be a key part of the Gunners’ future.
A partnership of Saliba and Gabriel should be world-class in a few years time, but the problem is both Ligue 1 exports are still very young and relatively inexperienced.
They both have similar strengths but also similar weaknesses.
Both are good on the ball, but not world-class by any means. The pair also lack concentration at times, like all young defenders.
Perhaps rotating the two alongside a more experienced partner will be the best way to go for the season. Pablo Mari may be the best option at the club at the moment.
However, Mikel Arteta and co. must find a way to get rid of at least three of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Callum Chambers and Rob Holding.