What is a more fitting way for this Gabriel Magalhaes saga to end than confirmation from Fabrizio Romano in the middle of the night for many Arsenal fans. On the flip side, it may seem fitting that they wake up to this news in a bit of confusion, seeing as the whole deal has seemed exactly that – confusing.
In a deal that sees Arsenal complete and back and forth, up and down deal, and another acquisition with Lille, Arsenal will pay out roughly £27m for another potential star. The French club of course was the home of Nicolas Pepe until last year’s £72m switch to Arsenal.
According to the report that aligns with many of the previously held rumors, Gabriel has agreed to a deal that sees him become a Gunner for much of his twenties. This will give Arsenal adequate time to work with the defender and allow him to cultivate into the stalwart left center back that we all hope he can become.
At the age of 22, I think many people will agree that this is more in-line with the type of purchase Arsenal should be making with their rebuild efforts. This type of move gives Arsenal time, a highly rated prospect, someone that could come in and make an impact soon, but will still offer the club resale value down the line if the they choose to go that route.
In the last 24 hours, there had been reports of Arsenal being forced to increase their bid to the player, so we will have to wait and see what kind of weekly salary he has been given. Some reports have suggested it will be within the £80-100m, per-week range* which seems more than reasonable. In fact, if it is on the lower or middle end of that spectrum and Gabriel turns out to be everything Arteta hopes he could be, Arsenal could have just captured a real bargain. He will fly to London on Monday for his medical.
There is plenty to be excited about with Gabriel’s left-footed abilities and his intent to solve Arsenal’s issues at the heart of the defense. With a perceived ability to play well on the ball and distribute, he aligns well with the type of defender Arteta has voiced a desire for while improving the aerial defense that Arsenal have been missing. There certainly is plenty of room to grow as he is far from the complete picture, but with Saliba in a similar position to grow and Luiz, Mustafi, Mari, and a handful of other players to help that process — Arsenal could have acquired the second piece to their future defensive puzzle.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Gabriel Magalhaes, outside of this ability, is the combination of Brazilian decent and time in the French league. It’s not hard to imagine him fitting in with a side that is now composed of many that check one or both of those boxes. David Luiz, William Saliba, Pablo Mari, Willian, Gabriel Martinelli, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, even Matteo Guendouzi for however long he stays with the club. Not to mention a Technical Director like Edu with his Brazilian heritage and a coach like Arteta who may be Spanish, but will have had plenty of French experience and influence in his time with Wenger and company.
That suggests there is an extremely positive foundation for Gabriel to grow into himself and change the side in the next few years. As Fabrizio Romano said, an official statement will likely come next week, but this is certainly a VERY positive addition for the Gunners as they head into next season and a Community Shield next weekend — although I doubt Gabriel makes an appearance so soon.
Welcome Gabriel and we will have a few more thoughts on him and the team in the coming days. COYG.
*Update: Some people are suggesting the wage package will be roughly £2m Net a year. I imagine that is after taxes which would still put the amount around £3m or £70,000 per-week which is a VERY good number if true.