Defender Gabriel Magalhaes says new teammate Nicolas Pepe was a key reason behind his decision to make the move to Arsenal.
The Gunners have been crying out for a commanding presence at the back. And Gabriel’s early performances suggest they may have finally found their man.
While other top Premier League sides have conceded goals galore in the early part of the season, Arsenal have kept it tight at the back.
Gabriel has played in four of their opening five league games. And in those matches, Arsenal have conceded just three times.
The Brazilian also helped them keep a clean sheet in the EFL tie at Liverpool and scored in the opening 3-0 win at Fulham.
But Gabriel could have been plying his trade elsewhere but for several key conversations with Gunners Ivorian winger Pepe.
The two played together at Lille and are firm friends.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Gabriel explained: “I spoke with Pepe before I moved. I asked him how it was at the club.
“Of course, he had an influence on my decision. He was one of the reasons why I decided to move to Arsenal.
“It was because I had previously played with him.”
Gabriel had three seasons at Lille and played all six of their Champions League group stage matches last season.
New Arsenal signings making big impact
Gabriel was part of a shake-up at The Emirates over the summer.
As well as his move from Lille for a reported £22million, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also brought in Willian from Chelsea and Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid in a £45m deal .
All have settled in well and Partey has been singled out for praise by striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“Thomas has been great since joining the club,” Aubameyang told Arsenal’s official matchday programme. “He has integrated so well in the squad.
“He is kind, calm and smiley. On the pitch, we have seen already seen what he will bring us in matches.
“He is so strong physically but yet so good on the ball as well. We didn’t really have a profile like this in our squad before. In terms of ball progression, beating the press, going forward, he will be very important for us.”