Gabriel Magalhaes has given Arsenal a timely boost by underlining his commitment and happiness at Arsenal in the wake of recent reports linking him with a move to Barcelona.
The Brazilian has been a bedrock in the Arsenal rearguard this season. Signed in September 2020, the Gunners paid Lille a hefty £27m to bring him to Emirates Stadium. Still only 24, his signing has looked an extremely shrewd piece of business.
Indeed, Gabriel has played 30 times in all competitions this season, linking up well with Ben White in the heart of defence. And the pair of them have contributed greatly as part of Mikel Arteta’s young side this season.
Alongside other young guns like Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, the Gunners are currently fifth.
And despite two costly defeats allowing Tottenham to overtake them into fourth, they are still hopeful of securing a Champions League spot for next season.
Gabriel’s form in the heart of defence has led to questions being raised over a number of other stars. For example, Pablo Mari – currently out on loan at Udinese – has made it clear he does not want to return.
Questions are also being raised about another hugely-talented youngster, William Saliba.
The Gunners paid St Etienne £27m for the then-teenager in July 2019. However, he’s yet to kick a ball in anger for Arsenal, having had various loan spells away.
Now fulfilling that early potential at Marseille, Saliba recently earned a senior call-up to the France squad.
And during his international call-up, he gave a revealing insight into his future at Arsenal.
Should he return to the Gunners, that will put some pressure on both Gabriel and White.
Gabriel attracting Barcelona attention
And sensing an opportunity to strike, Gabriel was recently linked with a move to Barcelona.
Their coach, Xavi Hernandez, is reportedly a huge fan of the Brazilian and is considering a summer approach.
Furthermore, in an effort to grease the wheels, Barcelona are seemingly willing to offer Arsenal their pick of three players in return.
However, the Gunners understandably have no desire to cash in on Gabriel.
Furthermore, the defender has gone on record to state his happiness with life with the Gunners.
“Well, in my first season, I certainly learnt a lot,” Gabriel told Premier League Productions, when summing up his time at Arsenal so far.
Arsenal blow as Gabriel Magalhaes wanted by Barcelona
Gabriel Magalhaes is wanted by Barcelona this summer as Arsenal will struggle to keep defender
“It’s been a real challenge here, and I am more and more settled every day. I feel better and better with each passing game.
“At the same time, we know we all can’t be perfect in every match. We do make mistakes.
“But I feel good, I feel at home at Arsenal. It’s a great squad to be a part of, and together I am sure we can achieve a lot. I am very happy here.”
Star makes clear Arsenal aims
With eight games left this season, Gabriel has underlined his desire to help the Gunners claim a top-four finish.
And despite recent defeats to Crystal Palace and Brighton allowing Spurs to usurp them, he insists they will continue to push.
“Reaching the top four is our aim, but we know how tough it will be,” Gabriel added. “It’s a big challenge, but I do believe we can get there.
“We are working hard, and it’s the target we want to achieve. We have to stick together. We need to be focused to get good results.”
Arsenal face Southampton on Saturday at St Marys, before clashes at Chelsea on Wednesday and at home to Manchester United on April 23.
Picking up points in those matches will be crucial if they are to cut that three-point gap to Tottenham.
The Gunners then face what could prove a pivotal clash against Antonio Conte’s side on May 12.