Arsenal have completed and confirmed the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille OSC.
It is official, it has finally happened, after a week or so of reports claiming a deal was on the verge of being done. Gabriel is an Arsenal player.
Lille had reportedly accepted bids from three clubs for the player, the other two being Everton and Napoli. The Toffees then surprisingly pulled out of the race, leaving the final stretch of the course clear for the Gunners to compete with the Serie A side.
And as the tie began swinging towards north London, Napoli made a last-ditch attempt to convince the 22-year-old to move to Italy instead with a lucrative personal terms offer, but in was in vain. The defenders reported wish to play in the Premier League proved too strong.
As is often the case with Brazilian players who cross the Atlantic very young, Gabriel had a fair number of steps to climb on the ladder of progress before arriving to his desired destination. Back home, he went through the youth ranks at Avai FC and played for them until January 2017, when he signed for Lille for a reported fee of €3 million. But before he could make the cut at the Ligue 1 side, he was forced to sharpen his tools through loan spells, and he played for Troyes and Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, returning to the parent club in the summer of 2018.
He made 14 appearances in all competitions in his first season back and that number grew to 24 in 2019/20, when his uncommonly mature performances attracted the attention of several clubs apart from the three already named.
It will be interesting to see how Mikel Arteta shapes his back line in 2020/21. His 3-4-3 system seems to be working very well and at this point there appears to be no reason to change it.