Fabrizio Romano says Manchester United were hoping to win the race for Gabriel Magalhaes before his Arsenal move, while the defender’s agent has received approaches from two sides.
Gabriel left his native Brazil in January 2017 by joining Lille for £2.7million. He subsequently had loan spells at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. The centre-back then became an important player for Lille in the 2019-20 season, making 34 appearances across all competitions.
Gabriel put in some solid displays in France and this saw plenty of clubs register their interest to Lille. The Ligue 1 outfit made a big profit when they sold him to Arsenal in September 2020.
As per Sky Sports, Arsenal spent £27million to bolster their defence with his signing.
Gabriel formed a great centre-half partnership with Ben White last season. They helped Aaron Ramsdale keep 12 clean sheets in the Premier League as Arsenal finished fifth, just outside of the Champions League qualification places.
This season, Gabriel has been playing alongside William Saliba in the centre of defence, with White pushed out to right-back. The system is working for Mikel Arteta though as Arsenal have won of their first ten league matches. They also sit top of Europa League Group A with a perfect winning record.
Gabriel has been guilty of a couple of poor mistakes this term. But overall he has been dominant at the back alongside Saliba and Arteta trusts him fully.
Things could have been far different for the 24-year-old, however. Transfer guru Romano has revealed Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Manchester United were hoping to snare Gabriel from Lille prior to his move to the Emirates.
Man Utd have pursued Arsenal defender
Romano also detailed two approaches for the Brazil international during the summer transfer window, which ultimately came to nothing.
“I’m told two clubs approached Gabriel Magalhaes’ agents in July, and Juventus were one of them for sure,” he said during an interview with CaughtOffside.
“Arsenal decided to keep him as key player for present and future.
“Napoli were pushing more than Man United for Gabriel in 2020, but Arsenal’s insistence made the difference.”
It seems Arteta and Arsenal technical director Edu did well to convince Gabriel to join them, rather than Man Utd or Napoli.
Clearly, Man Utd scouts were impressed by the defender during his time at Lille. But they are unlikely to make another move for him in the future.
The Red Devils spent £57m to reunite Erik ten Hag with Ajax star Lisandro Martinez. Ten Hag also has Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in his squad.
Varane picked up an injury in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and could miss the World Cup. Despite this, Man Utd probably won’t make an approach for a new centre-back, like Gabriel, in January.
Another factor to consider is the rivalry between Man Utd and Arsenal. The Gunners will not want to lose any more players to Man Utd after what happened with Robin van Persie and Alexis Sanchez in the past.