Last year, Arsenal signed the Brazilian center-back Gabriel Magalhaes for about €30 million, with a contract lasting until 2025.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that from the first day he saw Gabriel as someone with “lots of personality and big courage to play.”
He also remarked that he is very stable, mentally secure, and has the physical and technical attributes to adapt well to the Premier League. The young player is already proving his worth and his future at Arsenal looks bright.
A non-traditional career path
When Gabriel signed with his first club as a teenager, he only lasted a week because he was homesick and battled to fit in with the other players. His decision to go back to Avaí showed he wasn’t ready to give up on his football dream and was prepared to do what it took to succeed. Avaí was one of the few clubs that were prepared to accept him – he was skinny, tall, left-footed, soft on challenges and couldn’t head the ball too well.
At Avaí, Gabriel received mentoring, bulked up and worked on his flaws. He had such a will to work on his shortcomings in order to become a better player that it wasn’t too long before he showed some significant improvement. He became the kind of player that many teams in Brazil wanted to play for them.
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Lille snaps Gabriel up
Despite his youth, Gabriel captained Avaí several times before Lille snapped him up just after celebrating his 19th birthday. Manager, Marcelo Bielsa, sent him out for two loan spells as he did not think he was ready to play for the first team yet. After these disappointing loans, he had bouts in the reserve and senior sides but first-team opportunities were still irregular.
After taking part in a Ligue 1 game in February 2019, he didn’t look back and become a regular center-back on the first team. He had a successful partnership with Southampton player Jose Fonte at center-back.
During his time with Lille, he developed into a competent defender with aerial dominance and pace, helping the team qualify for the Champions League in 2018 and 2019 as well to finish second in Ligue 1.
When Lille President, Gerard Lopez, spoke to Sky Sports News, he mentioned Gabriel’s good character and said he persisted despite not having an easy start with the team. The coach at the time didn’t trust him due to his young age. He said that he is a real fighter who knows how to use his physicality and that he is at the start of something big in his career.
Arsenal signs Gabriel
Lille held on to Gabriel before finally letting him go to Arsenal in September 2020. Arsenal beat off competition from Manchester United and two other teams to sign the 22-year-old center-back.
Manager Arteta wasted little time in throwing Gabriel in the deep end. Despite Arsenal’s poor start to the season, he impressed immediately, winning the player of the month award in September and October. He scored against both Fulham and Wolves in the League and his presence is making Arsenal’s defense look much more assured.
After testing positive for Covid-19, Gabriel had to go through a period of isolation and miss several matches in December and one in early January.
Gabriel is “a steal “for Arsenal
Former Gunner striker, Keven Campbell, says Gabriel is “a steal “for Arsenal and has given an immediate return on their investment in him. Campbell told Football Insider that Arsenal had “finally got a center-back who wants to defend, who likes to defend.” Campbell says Gabriel is powerful, strong, quick and good on the ball and in the air.
With the acquisition of Gabriel, Arsenal now has nine central defenders on its books. Mikel Arteta believes Gabriel has many qualities that will make the team stronger as a defensive unit.
The defense options of Arsenal will be further boosted by William Saliba, who the last season on loan to St. Etienne after Arsenal signed him from them.
The pairing of these two promising central defensive talents could potentially develop a partnership that would serve Arsenal well in the coming years. Both of these players are likely to take a bit of time to get used to the Premier League but there is little question that they have much to contribute to Premier League football.
The pace, tactical awareness and athleticism of Gabriel is good news for Arsenal fans. The back-line is more solid and reliable than it has been for some time. Gabriel has already had over 100 appearances at club level at 23 years of age and he is only going to get better over time. Hopefully, he will be one of the keys to success for Arsenal in the years that lie ahead.
Vendy Adams is a network security specialist at a local library and freelances in assisting students with writing their IT essays and term papers. She likes solving problems and that’s why she likes the different challenges academic writing offers her. When she’s free, she likes reading books, chatting with friends, and reviewing local restaurants.