Gabriel Magalhaes has officially signed for Arsenal from Lille on a long term contract. He will wear the number 6 shirt for the club.
The Gunners fended off interest from a number of clubs to sign the Brazilian defender, who was their top defensive target this summer. They will pay Lille a fee of £27 million for the 22 year old.
The central defender signed for Lille from Brazilian club Avai in 2017. After signing for the French club, he spent time on loan at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. On returning to Lille, he was provided with the opportunity to play in the first team owing to an injury suffered by Adama Soumaoro. He put in a string of impressive performances and never looked back. Gabriel established himself as one of Lille’s most important players.
The 22 year old is one of Europe’s most exciting young central defenders. He was an integral part of a Lille side that finished fourth in the French league last season. They had the fourth best defensive record in the country. He made 34 appearances in all competitions for the French club in the 2019/20 campaign. Gabriel is expected to have a significant impact on the Arsenal defence in the coming years.
On signing for Arsenal, Gabriel said:
“So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal, and that played a big part in me signing for this club. I know the history and traditions of this club and it is a pleasure being here. I am very happy and hope I can contribute to many titles with the Arsenal shirt.”
“It was a very surreal experience, there were offers coming from a few different clubs. I spoke a lot with my family and my agents, I also spoke with some of Lille’s directors, but as I said, this club’s history and traditions and the team project for the next few years were very motivational for my decision to come here.”
“So here I am, wearing the Arsenal shirt, I will give my best for it and come on you Gunners!”
On the impact Edu and Arteta had on his decision to sign for the North London club, he said:
“[Edu and I] had several chats about Arsenal and the new project, we had many good conversations. As the days went by I was getting very excited about it, then I had a call from the coach and that was very reassuring.”
“Having the coach himself calling you to say he wants you in his squad motivates you a lot. That is the very reason I am here today. We did not talk about [details], he just told me he is aware of my quality, my capacity and how far I can go. He also said he will be very demanding with me. I know he is a great coach and I will make progress with his help.”
Edu Gaspar, Arsenal’s technical director, is pleased to have secured the Brazilian defender’s signature. He said:
“We are delighted to have signed Gabriel. He is a player we have been studying for a while and he was in demand from many clubs, so we are proud to have agreed and completed this transfer with Lille and the player. Gabriel is a player of high quality and Mikel and his coaches are looking forward to integrating him into the club.”
Head coach Mikel Arteta is excited to work with Gabriel. He said:
“We welcome Gabriel to Arsenal. He has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team. He has proved with Lille that he is a defender with many outstanding attributes and we are looking forward to watching him grow as an Arsenal player.”