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November 2020
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Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães makes it 5 Brazilians at Arsenal … but not yet

By Tony Attwood


Everyday on the AISA Arsenal History Society website we publish a video of an Arsenal match from history along with all the day’s Arsenal anniversaries.  Click here for today’s video (Hint: a Brazilian scores one of the four).


“Edu instrumental in convincing Gabriel Magalhaes to join Arsenal as he nears £26.4m transfer from Lille” says the Express – but they also tell us he is not coming to Arsenal just yet, for elsewhere they announce that…

“Gabriel’s impending move to Arsenal will not be without complications as the left-footed centre-back cannot train with his team-mates immediately.   The UK government’s stance is that any visitors from France must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.”

(What they don’t say is that we also have no idea if the government is going to continue with the current regulations on foreign footballers in the Premier League, in the face of constant pressure from the FA to change the rules now that the UK has left the EU – but that of course is a bit of an embarrassment for the media that fills most of its pages with transfer rumours).

Now as we have experienced it is not unknown for the Excess to get things just a little bit upside on occasion, but their view is that because of the lock down, “Gabriel will miss the Gunners’ Community Shield showdown with Premier League champions Liverpool next weekend.”

“Showdown” indeed.  According to the Collins dictionary a “showdown” is “a big argument or conflict which is intended to settle a dispute that has lasted for a long time.”   Well, in that case, the Community Shield (in which money is supposedly collected for good causes, but the FA don’t ever tell us what causes or how much is donated) is not a showdown – not least since the “dispute” only arose on 1 August.  24 days ago.

Anyway they go on, “A delay in starting pre-season training may also lead to Gabriel’s absence in the first few weeks of the season.”   Allegedly he signs tomorrow, and also allegedly he turned down a deal to play for Manchester U because he wanted to train with Arteta; the main chatting up having been done by Edu, who by chance (being of the same nationality) speaks the same language (or as the Telegraph tweely puts it) they “are of the same descent.”

The Lille president Gerard Lopez is quoted as saying, “He is a great kid and that is one of the most important things.  He didn’t have an easy start with us given the fact that the coach at the time didn’t trust him because of his age.  He is a real fighter and has immense physical presence but knows how to use it smartly.”

“He is still raw and I know the Brazil national team are looking at him very seriously for the A-team.   I think he is at the start of something big, and he does everything to succeed.”

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So let’s see some data… and some of it is rather curious (although interestingly I have not seen any of our eagle eyed media looking into this, some I’m trying to piece together the bits and pieces myself).

Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães was born 19 December 1997, making him just 22.  He started out with Avaí and in season with them (2016/17) they just avoided relegation from the top Brazilian division, with Gabriel making 21 appearances.

In Europe he started out in Lille’s reserves in 2017, and this is where the “coach not trusting him bit” comes in.  He went to Troyes on loan, made one appearance in the first team and played five times in the reserves, went to Dinamo Zagreb on loan, made one appearance in their first team, and then 10 in the reserves and then came back to Lille in 2018 when he started clocking up the first team games.

His first goal came in an unexpected game in which Lille beat PSG 5-1 on 14 April 2019. But it was last season that he became a regular first team player, including playing in all the Champions League group stage games for the club.

In all he has played 39 games for Lille’s first team, virtually all last season.  He also played seven games for Brazil’s under 20 side in 2017.  Here’s how Lille made out in the abandoned season.  The Points Per Game column at the end reflects how the season was calculated after its abandonment.

Club P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 PSG 27 22 2 3 75 24 +51 68 2.52
2 Marseille 28 16 8 4 41 29 +12 56 2.00
3 Rennes 28 15 5 8 38 24 +14 50 1.79
4 Lille 28 15 4 9 35 27 +8 49 1.75
5 Nice 28 11 8 9 41 38 +3 41 1.46
6 Reims 28 10 11 7 26 21 +5 41 1.46

So he’s young, fairly inexperienced, and had a bit of a topsy-turvy career of loans, and then suddenly came good.   At Arsenal he’ll have national (and linguistic) friends in Edu, Willian, David Luiz and Martinelli – so we have quite a Brazilian group in the club now – probably more than we have ever had before.

This looks to me like a reflection of the growing influence of Edu – and I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Arteta speaks Portuguese as well as Spanish, English and French.   Certainly the linguistic abilities of Mr Wenger always gave him the edge of dealing with the transfer market in his early days in England, when most of the managers were monoglottist.

3 comments to Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães makes it 5 Brazilians at Arsenal … but not yet

  • If he has not yet played fro the Brazilian first team, how does he get a work permit?

  • So, as the story goes, we are going to sell a number of experienced centre backs in ordet to fit in 2 innexperienced ones, neither of which has played in the EPL or with PGML refs.

    In the emantime, it is all change with the coaching staff as well.

    Little continuity and experience together with no creativity. Sounds a very good recipe, but for what?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    This looking likely will happen transfer of the centreback Gabriel Maglhaes to Arsenal from Lille FC this summer transfer window will later look to be, it has been a compelling incoming transfer saga for Arsenal to fight it out critically before accomplishing it after they have finally come through to seal the transfer of Maglhaes to the Gunners. This despite all oppositions encountered by Arsenal front Napoli FC and Man Utd who tried to block Arsenal from singing the top quality grade centreback Maglhaes. But not minding the fruitless efforts reportedly made by Napoli and Man Utd to block Arsenal, however us Gooners are waiting to see the kind of centreback defending top quality job that Maglhaes will bring to Arsenal the in Premier League matches that he’ll play in foe Arsenal next season’s campaign. Where Arsenal will need to deliver top quality football playing that will see the club not only start to climb up the table. But as well lead on the table from day one after having a very convincing win away to Fulham at Graven Cottage on the opening day match of the season in the PL. An Arsenal Premier League away match that I am making plan to watch live on my TV set to the hilt. But if the DSTV announced hicks in increase monthly subscription charges from September 1 will not constitute a hindrance to my watching the match as planned as my Compact monthly subscription has expired. But I am planning to renew it on or before September 9 if God willing.

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