Arsenal announced the capture of Brazilian center back Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille on a “long-term deal,” with the BBC putting the transfer fee at around $31 million.
Gabriel, 22, moved from Brazil to France in 2016 and was loaned by Lille to Dinamo Zagreb and Troyes before establishing himself as a first-teamer.
[ MORE: Arsenal’s 2020-21 schedule ]
He’s the total package — a physical and fast defender with technical gifts and a wide range of passing abilities.
First popping into the rumor mill as an Everton target, his suitors grew to include Chelsea, Manchester United, and — of course — Arsenal.
Here’s Mikel Arteta via Arsenal.com:
“We welcome Gabriel to Arsenal. He has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team. He has proved with Lille that he is a defender with many outstanding attributes and we are looking forward to watching him grow as an Arsenal player.”
The defender scored two goals in 52 appearances with Lille, averaging 1.7 tackles per game, 3.3 clearances, and .9 interceptions in Ligue 1 play last season while passing at 82 percent.
Arsenal says Gabriel will wear No. 6. If he has an Arsenal career anything like the club’s last Ligue 1 import to wear No. 6, Laurent Koscielny, the Gunners will be very happy.
Let’s use WhoScored.com’s Player Comparison tool to take a look at four of the Gunners’ center back options this season, including veteran David Luiz.
You can see that new boys William Saliba and Gabriel were both tougher tacklers, at least in their Ligue 1 days, than Luiz and Pablo Mari.
Gabriel’s defensive numbers and his offensive and passing stats (not shown) compare well with fellow Brazilian back Luiz, as he’s shown a penchant for completing the long ball.