Paul Merson thinks the amount of competition for Gabriel Magalhaes’ signature would make him a statement addition at Arsenal.
Arsenal appear to be closing in on the signing of Gabriel, who impressed for Lille last season. However, Mikel Arteta has denied the deal is finished.
It does seem likely that Gabriel will end up at the Emirates Stadium sooner rather than later, though. The Gunners have been desperate for defensive reinforcements, and Gabriel could be exactly what they need.
Should Arsenal complete the Gabriel signing, it would mean they have beaten off plenty of competition for his signature. Napoli were posing a threat to their bid, while Everton and Manchester United were also linked.
And Gunners legend Merson thinks winning the race for Gabriel would be a statement of intent from his former club.
“If Arsenal sign Gabriel Magalhaes I think it’s a big statement because of all the other clubs that were after him,” Merson told the Daily Star.
“If Arsenal have managed to get him in without having Champions League football to offer, I think that’s huge.”
Arsenal need to strengthen to keep up
Merson added that the number of rivals strengthening in the Premier League makes it essential for Arsenal to spend in order to keep up.
London rivals Chelsea have secured several big money signings so far in the transfer window, for example. It could only increase the gap for Arsenal, who finished outside the European places last season – but still qualified for the Europa League as FA Cup winners.
Merson continued: “I like what Mikel Arteta is doing. But there are plenty of teams around them getting better as well.
“Chelsea have bought amazingly well. They are going to close the gap on Liverpool next season.
“It could be one of the tightest league title races in a long time. But Arsenal have a long way to go to get to that level.”