Gabriel to Arsenal: Transfer announcement video, Liverpool debut, William Saliba claim

Arsenal are set to imminently announce the signing of 22-year-old defender Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille, having agreed a deal at the weekend. The Brazilian completed his medical this week after arriving in London on Monday in a deal that could be worth up to £27million.

He will become Mikel Arteta’s fourth summer signing after Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Willian and has signed a five-year deal to keep him in the English capital until June 2025.

And he will inject an abundance of extra quality into the Arsenal defence having enjoyed an excellent season in Ligue 1 with Lille last term.

Express Sport brings you all the latest news regarding Gabriel’s move to Arsenal.

Transfer announcement video

Arsenal fans on Wednesday were flush with excitement over supposed footage of Gabriel inside the Emirates filming what was hoped was an announcement video.

Some claims also suggested that it was in fact Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being filmed in the club’s new away kit ahead of the announcement that he has signed a new contract.

But it has since emerged that the person in the footage is instead rapper Yizzy, who was at Arsenal’s stadium to film a video for his song ‘Thierry Henry’.

The rapper posted several images on his Instagram story of himself at the ground wearing the jersey, confirming the song will be released on Friday and that a video will follow next week.

He confirmed on an Instagram post from an Arsenal fan group: “It was me lol. Filming my new music video. Thierry Henry out next week.”

Liverpool debut

Arsenal supporters will be made to wait to watch Gabriel in a Gunners shirt for the first time – because he will not be allowed to play in Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool.

Even if the £27m deal is confirmed by then, Gabriel is to have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

Arsenal did get special permission for Gabriel to undergo his medical this week but due to the United Kingdom’s travel restrictions imposed on persons coming to the country from France, Gabriel will not be allowed to train with his team-mates for a two-week period.

He will join up with Arteta’s squad in the build-up to Arsenal’s Premier League opener away at Fulham on September 12.

If the centre-half is not deemed ready then, he will hope to feature in his new side’s first home game of the 2020-21 campaign against West Ham seven days later.

William Saliba partnership

In Gabriel and William Saliba, Arsenal may have a centre-back partnership “for the next 10 years”, according to Ligue 1 expert Jonathan Johnson.

“It would be a pairing of two very good, very promising central defensive talents and potentially a partnership which could serve Arsenal for the best part of the next 10 years,” Johnson told the Transfer Talk podcast.

“Saliba’s season with Saint-Etienne was mixed, obviously the Ligue 1 season was brought to a premature close because of the COVID crisis, he had a few injuries as well and it was a shame he was not granted the chance to play in the Coupe de France final before finishing his loan spell, it would have been a good way for him to go.

“But he’s shown when he plays he has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, he is fulfilling quite a bit of that already, he has impressive maturity for his age, and I think he would pair well with Gabriel.

“Both will take a bit of time to get used to the Premier League but both are tailor-made for Premier League football.

“I do not think that process would take as long as it would with other foreign players.

“I do not think [Gabriel] can be held up as the absolute solution to Arsenal’s defensive issues, but he could go a long way alongside someone like William Saliba to solving some of those headaches.

“He’s a very talented guy, physical, he’s strong, he’s got good technique, he’s made for the Premier League. He would be a good addition if Arsenal can pull it off.”

Arsenal alternatives

Arsenal boss Arteta was looking at two other centre-backs before choosing to press on with a deal for Gabriel, it has been claimed.

The north London outfit beat off competition from Everton, Manchester United and Napoli among others to sign the Brazil under-20 international.

But Goal say that the Spanish coach was first considering moves for Axel Disasi, who recently swapped Reims for Monaco, and free agent Malang Sarr.

Sarr is now said to be on the verge of joining Chelsea after leaving Nice at the end of his contract, agreeing a five-year deal to move to Stamford Bridge, though he will be loaned out at first.

But it is Gabriel who topped the list for Arsenal, just as Saliba did 12 months ago with the Gunners beating Tottenham to the highly-rated Frenchman.

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