A long time ago I wrote about the damaging side of transfer rumors, focusing on the friction that is created between club and supporters when a player isn’t acquired. But in the case of Gabriel Magalhaes, the situation is a little bit different.
By all accounts, he has signed. According to trusted and connected sources, he has signed and his medical has been completed. He just simply has not been announced formally. But the steps that led to his signing – the back and forth with his agents and people, the waiting for him to make a selection, the reports of interest from and in other clubs – it has elongated this process exponentially.
Look, I am not one to be overly worried about whether the club has released a personalized video about Gabriel Magalhaes or not. It hardly makes him less of an Arsenal player and a part of Arteta’s plans if he has in-fact already signed on the dotted line. You won’t see my name on any supposed petition to fire the Arsenal social media admin because he hasn’t posted anything confirming Gabriel.
From the club’s perspective, I can respect the fact that there have likely been some unusual circumstances injected into the process in order to comply with rules surrounding the global pandemic and keep people safe when it comes to creating his announcement.
But that will hardly calm the masses in search of the gratification that comes with their club confirming they have landed a new player. Not just any new player. One that is young, very highly touted, filled with potential, and plays a position that is desperately needed. With William Saliba having made a solid, composed, and tidy debut, the hope will be that him and Gabriel are the future of Arsenal’s defense for years to come.
It’s a high bar to set and lofty expectations. It is already known that Gabriel is coming into the side early in his career and slightly incomplete. Much like Saliba, the skill, attributes, and quality are there but it needs to be fine tuned in order to reach the goal supporters are hoping for, which takes patience.
But with a saga like this, it seems that patience for Gabriel and his decisions have already taken a hit. Suddenly it has the feeling of patience running low and foreshadows a future where this back and forth notion of evaluating the clubs that want him, extending the process, may quickly be held against him if the results don’t come sooner rather than later.
The “48-hour” jokes at his expense are already flowing. It’s to be expected to some degree. Part of the world of football to some extent. Taking the mickey out of footballers and clubs. But will things turn a corner or will they continue to escalate from here?
You can easily imagine him letting an attacker by or conceding a silly penalty being met by a chorus of people wondering why we waited so long from him. For those on the fence about him being the correct option, each passing day can be used as a bit of ammo to their argument. Fair or not.
It could all be resolved through his performances. Almost all issues in football are. But have the expectations around him now risen? The price for him was great. £27m in fees, £70,000-ish a week in salary, for a 22-year-old with promise is fantastic, but has this journey to London worn people down already? Has the club’s inability to announce him killed some of the excitement that would have granted more patience with his growth? Has his leeway with fans been shortened already?
We will find out shortly.