Football

Who Is Gabriel Magalhaes? Five Things To Know About The Brazilian Who Could Be On His Way To Arsenal

Arsenal have reportedly had a bid accepted for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes with claims in Italy suggesting the Gunners may have beaten Napoli to the Brazilian’s signature.

The centre-back has been on the radar of a number of English clubs, including the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea over the past few months.

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However, it is thought that Arsenal, Everton and Napoli were the only teams to make a formal bid, and Lille’s president revealed over the weekend that Gabriel was expected to make a decision about his future imminently.

So what do we know about the 22-year-old? Press the next page as we go through five facts about the player.

Gabriel is tall and relatively comfortable in the air

The Brazilian defender is 6ft 3 and with an aerial duel win percentage of over 65% last season, he is certainly not going to be outfought in the air by Premier League forwards.

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With William Saliba also being 6ft 4, they really shouldn’t be caught out by opponents, such as Burnley, delivering long balls next campaign.

He is quick and should fit Arteta’s style of play

Gabriel is no slouch, and he is very capable of keeping up with forwards when facing them in a foot race. He is very rarely dribbled past.

This attribute would have been very important for head coach Mikel Arteta, who is expected to play a high line next season in order to improve the team’s pressing game.

Gabriel does not have a great deal of experience

It must be pointed out that despite being signed by Lille in 2017, the centre-back was sent out on two loan spells, to Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb, before returning to become a fixture in the Ligue One side’s first team.

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Up until February 2019, Gabriel had not established himself as a regular starter so he effectively has just 18 months experience of the French top flight.

He will offer the balance that Arteta is seeking

Another vital asset that Gabriel possesses is that he is left-footed. You cannot overestimate the importance of this trait in the system which Arteta employs.

The angles when passing out from the back are greatly improved when you have a left/right-footed combination in the middle of defence, providing a key balance both defensively and offensively.

Gabriel’s price could well turn out to be a bargain

With Napoli commanding £81m for Kalidou Koulibaly and the likes of Villarreal’s Pau Torres expected to command fees in the region of £45m, getting Gabriel for less than £30m could be an inspired piece of business.

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At 22 years of age, he still has room to develop his game, with Arteta able to mould him into a centre-back which perfectly fits his system.

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