Arsenal have completed the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille in a deal worth up to £27million. The central defender becomes Mikel Arteta’s second major arrival of the summer transfer window.
Arsenal have seen off competition from Everton, Manchester United and Napoli for Magalhaes, who completed a medical last week ahead of signing a long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium.
The 22-year-old joins fellow Brazilian Willian in joining the Gunners this summer. The former Chelsea winger arrived on a free earlier in mid-August after his deal at Stamford Bridge expired.
Arteta hailed his new signing, with the Arsenal boss insisting the defender will shine at the Emirates.
“We welcome Gabriel to Arsenal,” Arteta said.
“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.”
Technical director Edu added: “We are delighted to have signed Gabriel.
“He is a player we have been studying for a while and he was in demand from many clubs, so we are proud to have agreed and completed this transfer with Lille and the player.
“Gabriel is a player of high quality and Mikel and his coaches are looking forward to integrating him into the club.”
Arsenal have long been hampered by defensive frailties but appear to be a more solid proposition under Arteta, who took charge last December.
Magalhaes’ arrival coupled with William Saliba’s return from a season-long loan spell at St-Etienne means a long-term pairing is there to be formed in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Arsenal have also used a three-at-the-back tactic under Arteta, and Gunners legend Martin Keown believes Magalhaes is the perfect recruit for both systems.
“Well I sincerely hope so,” Keown said on BT Sport.
“He’s really strong, quick, left-footed player.
“I saw him play against Chelsea for Lille last season, I went out to watch him. Magnificent player, I think he’s the future.
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“He sees danger and he’s a leader. Strong, powerful, I sincerely hope this transfer does go through and that he does become an Arsenal player.
“That will really secure them at the back, whether it’s going to be a four or a three, I think this lad can play in either system.”
Magalhaes has emerged as one of the continent’s hottest defensive prospects after a breakthrough campaign with Lille, in which he made 34 appearances in all competitions.
He has yet to represent Brazil at international level, however.
Arsenal are likely to sell a number of defenders to make room for Magalhaes and raise transfer funds for other targets.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi have entered the final year of their contracts and look set for the exit door.
Rob Holding is a target for Newcastle United while Calum Chambers has been linked with Fulham and Leeds.
Arsenal are looking to re-sign Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid while Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey remains a key target.
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