Gabriel Shows Arsenal’s Transfer Dreams Can Come True!

London seems to be awash with Brazilian centre-backs but both Thiago Silva and David Luiz may have to step aside as Arsenal new boy Gabriel Magalhaes could go on and prove he’s the real deal in the Premier League.

The twenty-two year old arrived at The Emirates this summer in a €26m deal from Ligue 1 side Lille OSC (Source BBC Sport). Less than two weeks later and Gabriel starred in The Gunners defence as they enjoyed a 3-0 win over Fulham in their opening league game of the season.

The young central defender played in a back three with Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney. Holding has still to prove himself as a first team regular, while Tierney is a left-back finding his feet as a left sided centre-half. Yet Magalhaes commanded that backline as his defensive partners took every instruction. The Brazilian’s command of the English language might not be there yet but his footballing language certainly seems up to speed as he was telling teammates to push out or take their men in set-piece situations.

Arsenal have often lacked that leadership in the heart of their defence.

Gabriel was particularly impressive in the air yesterday. No player won more aerial duels and The Gunners have lacked that assertiveness in the air during the last decade. He also grabbed a debut goal by climbing above everyone else and steering his effort into Fulham’s net.

As well as being assured in the air, the centre-back was also more than capable with the ball at his feet. Gabriel had 122 touches of the ball (the most of any player) and he also made 114 passes, boasting a wonderful 95% passing success rate (Stats from Whoscored).

Not for such a long time has a new Arsenal centre half came in and impressed me this much on his debut. His performance will give lots of Arsenal fans reasons to be optimistic about their chances of finishing in the top four this season.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was understandably pleased with the showing of latest recruit:

“He showed today his character and his personality because he hasn’t played any football in six months,”

“He only had a couple of sessions with us but we needed to play him today and he was terrific.”


The player himself was also jubilant after his debut but also seemed focused on having a strong season with The Gunners:

The challenges will get tougher as the campaign progresses for both Arsenal and Gabriel Magalhaes.

David Luiz could actually come into his own as a mentor for his younger compatriot.

Luiz has always performed at his best playing in a back three and it looks like Arteta is set on playing that formation with Arsenal. That tactic could mean that Luiz and Gabriel get the best out of each other. Luiz is less of a liability playing with two defensive teammates, Magalhaes’ concentration levels and heading ability should cover up some of David’s usual failings.

I also think Brazilian international Luiz thrives when he’s set out a clear task to help when playing with younger players. David’s communication at the back should see Gabriel becoming more of a commanding influence sooner as he’ll be able to build up a quick understanding with his veteran teammate.

When you look at the fees currently being discussed for Kalidou Koulibaly and the eventual price tags of Virgil van Dijk, John Stones and Harry Maguire then you can see that Gabriel Magalhaes will become an absolute bargian buy if he can live up to his early potential.

I think that €26m will be money well spent as Gabriel, in my opinion, will go on to become one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

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