Tag Archives: Gabriel

Gabriel, Adidas, Ceballos, Bellerin and More

Still nothing happening over The Arsenal.

The Gabriel deal seems to be dragging on with reports now that Man U interested.

It does feel like the player (or his representatives) are playing the game to maximise his salary. But it might just be the deal with Arsenal is done but not announced, and the press are just trying to fill column inches.

Gabriel would be the final piece in the jigsaw as Arsenal continue to reshape the defence over the last 12 months.

We had the official swat kit release yesterday. It is awful.

I wouldn’t have bought it anyway, but I feel insulted that Adidas have tried to say the design is inspired by Highbury’s marble halls. It isn’t.

Fact is, Adidas missed an open goal by not having a 50th anniversary 1971 double celebration kit. A simple Yellow with blue trim would have flown off the shelves.

Just show these graphic designers do not really have a clue about the history of what they are designing.

Hector Bellerin was pictured smoking. Who cares?

Then we have Dani Ceballos who wished Joe Willock a “Happy Birthday” and added “see your soon”. Was that a hint?

Finally, Community Shield is a little over a week away. Crazy really!

Keenos

Gabriel Magalhaes: How Arsenal’s Pursuit of the Brazilian Impacts the Gunners’ Defence

Since Arsenal lifted a record 14th FA Cup with a 2-1 victory against Chelsea on the 1st August, Mikel Arteta has been proactive in the transfer market as he seeks to assemble a squad ready to challenge for Champions League football next season.

Having signed Willian on a free transfer after his contract expired at Chelsea, Arteta has outlined his priority: Brazilian centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes.

When French newspaper L’Équipe recently announced their Ligue 1 Team of the Season, it wasn’t Brazilian stalwart Thiago Silva who appeared, but his compatriot Gabriel, following an exceptional season at Lille. 

As a student of Pep Guardiola, Arteta has been vocal about the importance of having a left-footed centre-back in central defence to help facilitate playing out from the back. This was something he looked to address with the signing of Pablo Mari in January, but the Spaniard is currently out with a long-term ankle injury. Arteta’s desire to fill the void left by Mari’s absence demonstrates how highly he values a left and right-footed combination in the heart of defence. 

The glaring problem with Arsenal’s pursuit of Gabriel is that there are already seven central defenders currently at the club, following William Saliba’s arrival after the end of his loan at Saint-Etienne. Consequently, Arteta will have to shift players out before new ones can come in. 

The most likely players of those seven to leave are Sokratis, who has attracted interest from Napoli and Roma, and Calum Chambers, who is wanted by newly promoted Fulham having spent time on loan with The Cottagers in 2018/19. Mari and David Luiz have signed new contracts and remain part of future plans, whilst Shkodran Mustafi’s hamstring injury means he is unlikely to attract any suitors. 

This leaves Rob Holding, who has performed well in patches, but lacked the consistency required to nail down a starting spot in a side with top-four ambitions. The 24-year-old may be happy under Arteta, but is he really good enough to become a top-quality talent?

In short, the answer is no, hence why Arsenal have turned their attentions to Gabriel. Holding made only six Premier League starts last season and has made just 39 league starts in the four seasons he has been at the club. Although he provides solid depth, he is far from the finished article, with his deficiencies when playing out from the back regularly apparent. In the FA Cup final, he was given a torrid time by a 33-year-old Pedro, who beat him far too easily down the left flank on a number of occasions. 

Gabriel’s blend of superior pace, mixed with assuredness and accuracy whilst in possession, would make him in an ideal fit in a restructured shape that would see Arteta revert to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 for next campaign. The Spaniard’s switch to a back three post-lockdown was viewed as a way of giving the defence greater protection whilst allowing Arsenal to maintain a cutting edge in attack. 

Overall, the capture of Gabriel would represent a major coup for the Gunners, as they will have to fight off competition from Napoli to secure his services, having outlasted Everton and Manchester United in the race to sign the Brazilian. The Brazilian is said to prefer a move to north London, but it is far from a done deal at this stage.

Zac Campbell

Do Arsenal risk squad disharmony with 8 potential “new signings”

“8 new signings” would be crazy turnover for a single summer. Nearly 1 third of the squad. But having been sensible in January, this is the situation Arsenal could be in this summer.

If all goes well, Arsenal could add Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos & Amadou Diawara to the confirmed summer signings of Willian, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares.

Add in William Saliba and that will be 7 new signings this summer, and an 8th player signed last season but was left parked at his old club for a season.

Usually this amount of turnover would take 6 months for players to settle and gel. But Arsenal’s forward planning means it is a doable transfer window.

Cedric Soares

Joining in January on loan, Arsenal quickly snapped Portuguese right back on a free transfer once his contract at Southampton had expired.

He has already been at the club for nearly 7 months, training with team mates. With 5 appearances in the bag for Arsenal and 120 Premier League appearances under his belt for Southampton, he will not take any settling down what so ever.

Pablo Mari

Like Cedric Soares, Pablo Mari joined Arsenal on loan in January before a deal was completed in June.

Due to injury, he has played just 3 games for Arsenal in the 7 months he has been at the club.

But that 7 months takes out the usual half year a player takes to settle.

When he returns to full training, he will not require any integrating into the squad.

Willian

339 games for Chelsea, 234 in the Premier League. The only thing Willian will need is how much further London Colney is round the M25 from Cobham. About 45 miles.

He might not have played for Arsenal previously, but there will not be too many players who have played more Premier League games than him next season.

Dani Ceballos

Hopefully we get a deal over the line for Dani Ceballos – whether it is a permanent deal or another loan deal.

Having now played 36 games for Arsenal, the axis of Ceballos and Granit Xhaka was a key reason Arsenal won the FA Cup.

He might be a “new signing” this summer, but he will not be a new face at the training ground.

William Saliba

Opposite to Dani Ceballos is William Saliba.

He signed permanently last summer, but then spent the season on loan at St Etienne

Saliba will take some time to settle, which is why it is important that club kept David Luiz.

Gabriel

Not yet done but Arsenal are hopefully of getting the deal over the line.

Gabriel will be in the same boat as William Saliba. A new face in the training ground.

David Luiz will be key helping Gabriel and Saliba settle.

Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid midfielder would be a big coup for Arsenal. He will be another new face.

Amadou Diaware

Likewise Diawara will be a new face.


So Arsenal could make 7 new signings this summer, with William Saliba being an 8th new player. Yet of the 8, only 5 would have not yet played for Arsenal and be a new face in the training ground, and of those 5, 4 come with no Premier League experience.

I would usually worry about so many new signings. But with half of them now being new faces, Arsenal would have improved the squad without too much disruption.

We just then need to lose half dozen players (Sokratis, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torerria, Alex Lacazette) to make space for them.

Onwards and upwards.

Keenos