Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes has confirmed that he turned down the advances of other suitors, to put pen to paper on a deal with the Gunners.
South American stalwart
22-year-old Gabriel of course made the move to the Emirates from Ligue 1 outfit Lille during the summer.
The Brazilian was one of three high-profile arrivals in north London ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, alongside fellow countryman Willian and deadline day addition Thomas Partey.
And to say that the early signs suggest Arsenal’s investment is set to prove a wise one would be putting it lightly.
Gabriel has looked absolutely superb over the early weeks of his stint in England, having taken to the rigours of Premier League football like a duck to water.
Despite having only lined out for the Gunners on 9 occasions thus far, the South American already looks his new club’s most reliable defender, with Gabriel no doubt one of the first names on the team-sheet of Mikel Arteta.
Perfectly encapsulating the stopper’s excellence to start out the season was his display at Old Trafford two weeks ago, as a frankly mammoth 90 minutes on Gabriel’s part guided Arsenal to a clean sheet, and their first Premier League victory at a top-6 club in almost 6 years.
Gabriel’s game by numbers vs. Man Utd:
92% pass accuracy
7 duels won
5 tackles (most)
5 ball recoveries
1 clean sheet
A colossal display. pic.twitter.com/HP1jRdohuj
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 1, 2020
‘Wanted to wear the shirt’
Fans of the Gunners, in turn, have already expressed their delight at a genuine leader finally taking his place at the heart of the club’s backline.
As outlined above, though, had the 22-year-old not held such a long-standing affinity for Arsenal, it could instead have been another of Europe’s heavyweights benefitting from his talents.
Speaking in an interview with Arsenal Player this weekend, Gabriel was drawn on his decision to make the move to the English capital.
And the former Avai man, who was linked with the likes of Napoli, Manchester United and Chelsea over the course of the summer, went on to confirm that he rejected the advances of a number of other suitors for his signature, in favour of sealing a ‘dream’ Emirates switch:
‘I was trying not to hear too much about transfer speculation because you always end up thinking about everything that’s going on.’
‘After Arsenal came into the equation, he [agent] told me about other clubs that were interested, but I chose Arsenal because it was a dream for me. It’s a club that I really like and always watched on TV, with fantastic history.’
‘Arsenal is a huge club, one of the biggest in the world, and I told my agent from the start that if Arsenal came in for me, I wanted to wear the shirt, play at the stadium and feel the fans’ support because it’s a club I’ve always watched.’
‘I’m now very pleased to be here today alongside top players. It’s a childhood dream of mine.’