The Brazilian had also been a target for Everton at one stage but chose North London as the next destination in his developing career.
Gabriel Magalhaes Completes Arsenal Move
🗞 Central defender Gabriel has joined us from French side Lille on a long-term contract!
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 1, 2020
Napoli Made Last-Ditch Salary Offer to the Player
Arsenal were favourites to sign the 22-year-old ever since football returned from lockdown, and now confirmation of the deal is official. The player signs on a long-term contract with the club.
Sky Sports News had reported that in addition to Arsenal, two other European clubs met Lille’s £27 million asking price for the defender. Among them were Italian club Napoli, who also made a late attempt to entice the player to move to Serie A with a lucrative contract offer.
Gabriel, however, always favoured a move to the Premier League. This means Arsenal remained ahead of the chasing pack even before a transfer could be finalised.
No Club Interference Over Gabriel’s Arsenal Decision, Says Lille President
Lille president Gerard Lopez told the media that the French club would not seek to influence the player over which club he chose to move to this summer.
“We clearly told him what our expectations were, we spoke to a number of clubs, our expectations were met by a number of clubs and we have given him the time to decide,” said the 48-year-old before Arsenal agreed terms with the Brazilian.
“It is going to be entirely his decision. We tend to try and steer our players in certain directions, but at the end of the day it’s the player’s decision.
“He is a super guy and a great football player and he wants to play. There has been a lot of interest but we have clearly decided to close the door to further clubs at this stage and let him choose.”
After Lille opened the door to a move to Arsenal, the player became fully committed on a transfer to the Premier League club.
Gabriel joins recent additions Willian, Pablo Mari and William Saliba in moving to North London. If no central defenders leave the squad this summer, then Gunners manager Mikel Arteta will have eight players to choose from in that position.