Photo via Arsenal
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta continues to bolster his backline as the club announced the signing of centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes from Ligue 1 club Lille for a fee of 30 million euros. Gabriel signed a long-term contract with the club, presumably for five years.
“We welcome Gabriel to Arsenal. He has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team,” said Arteta. “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.”
Gabriel joins Arsenal after a successful run with Lille, leading them to the Champions League group stage last season and a fourth-place finish this season. He notched 12 clean sheets in 24 matches in league play for Lille last season and nine in 14 matches the prior season.
The 22-year-old Brazilian centre-back chose to join the Gunners despite interest from Manchester United, Napoli and Everton.
“So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal, and that played a big part in me signing for this club,” Gabriel told Arsenal Digital. “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.”
Arteta continues to add youth in his backline as centre-back William Saliba returns from his loan from Saint-Etienne. Other defenders such as Cedric Soares, David Luiz and Pablo Mari all locked up contract extensions with the club.
Last season, Arsenal conceded the eighth-fewest goals in the Premier League, a mark not good enough for the club to compete for a top-four spot. Arsenal often conceded goals at the worst moment (Brighton scoring a last-second goal to beat Arsenal in mid-June). With this addition, Arsenal looks to have a reinvigorated backline with youth and a fresh identity.
Arteta continues his rebuilding project with Arsenal and he is succeeding with a FA Cup and a Community Shield trophy added to his resume in the last month as Arsenal manager. He still has work to do. The next step is to pursue another playmaker or midfielder (Arsenal is working on retaining Real Madrid loanee, Dani Ceballos as well). However, Arsenal fans are still waiting on the club to announce captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract extension.
Progress continues to be made. Welcome to the club, Gabriel Magalhaes.