- Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes
- The Gunners have been linked with a move for the highly rated star all summer
- Club teased fans by saying David Luiz and Willian will be joined by ‘special guest’
- Magalhaes was then brought into the video call as he was welcomed by the pair
- Boss Mikel Arteta said he would bring ‘outstanding qualities’ to their defence
Arsenal have finally confirmed the £27million signing of defender Gabriel Magalhaes – as the club unveiled him during a live clip on social media. The Brazilian has signed a long-term deal and will wear the number six shirt as he becomes Mikel Arteta’s fourth major signing of the summer.
The club had teased fans by announcing that David Luiz and Willian will be joined by a ‘special guest’ in a group chat video, showing a picture of both players alongside a silhouette with a question mark, saying: ‘You don’t want to miss this one! They hinted that both players would reveal their fellow Brazilian as a Gunners player with the quote: ‘I’m not sure I can talk about it yet… Let’s call him!’
The clip starts with Luiz congratulating Willian on his move to the Emirates, with the winger replying: ‘I’m so happy we will soon be together. Let’s go full throttle and win trophies. Luiz then says ‘It’s so good that our little Brazilian family keeps growing’, and adds that he has ‘heard the family will get even bigger’. The pair then mention Magalhaes before deciding to invite him into the call to ask if he has joined.
The defender appears in an Arsenal shirt, saying ‘what’s up boys?’ as he is welcomed by his compatriots. ‘I’m so happy to be here with you guys. Let’s make it count,’ he adds. ‘I cannot wait, let’s win trophies. We’ve already started well!’ Speaking about his new signing, manager Mikel Arteta said Magalhaes had ‘outstanding qualities’ to make the team stronger defensively.
He 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 emerged as front runners to land Magalhaes after agreeing a deal to sign him earlier this month – beating off competition from the likes of Napoli, Manchester United and Chelsea. Last week he was in London to complete his medical but was forced to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the UK – meaning he faces a wait before linking up with Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Gunners fans have been so keen for the club to wrap up the deal some even claimed to be tracking the Brazilian’s car, with Twitter user @smeagol_11 claiming to have found a vehicle owned by the youngster on the M1. Magalhaes emerged as one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe after a standout season with Lille, where he played 34 times for the club and starred in the Champions League. He played a total of 52 games for Lille after beginning his career with Brazilian side Avai – who he joined at the age of 13. He left for the Ligue 1 side in 2017 – quickly adjusting to life in France by learning the language.
The arrival comes as a huge boost to Arteta, who has been hoping to strengthen his defensive options for the upcoming season, with his defenders coming under fire for a string of errors leading to goals. William Saliba has also returned from a loan spell at Saint-Etienne to give the Spaniard a few options to choose from, while the resurgence of David Luiz in the middle of the back four means Magalhaes will have to fight for his place. Arsenal have already brought in Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on permanent deals from Flamengo and Southampton respectively this summer, while Willian has also joined on a free transfer from Chelsea.