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Gabriel Magalhaes returns to England

The Brazilian centerback was rehabbing a minor knee problem.

Serbia U21 v Brazil U23 - International Friendly Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Gabriel Magalhaes is heading back to England to rejoin Arsenal’s preseason training. The Brazilian centerback had been in Mexico rehabbing a knee injury with Thaigo Pegoretti, a sports-specialist physical therapist. Magalhaes complained of knee pain while training with the Brazilian national team in early July preparing for the Olympics. Scans revealed joint swelling and previously undiagnosed tendonitis.

It doesn’t appear that Gabriel will be ready in time to start against Brentford, however. Said Mikel Arteta after the preseason loss to Chelsea about Gabriel’s potential availability, “At the moment, he’s not able to train with us at the moment so it’s unlikely. Hopefully, he can recover quickly.” UPDATE: Arsenal have released an injury report that states “Gabriel is currently being assessed and is aiming to be back in training in the forthcoming weeks.”

For what it’s worth, when Gabriel announced that he wouldn’t be able to play in the Olympics, he wrote in his Instagram post that his injury was “nothing serious.” And my extremely non-medical evaluation of his physical therapy photos is that he’s doing significant exercise and should be ready sooner rather than later.

For now, Pablo Mari will likely play next to either Ben White or Rob Holding to open the season at Brentford on August 13th. Once Gabriel is fit and reintegrated into the setup, your guess is as good as mine as to which Mikel Arteta will pick. I think he’ll ride the hot hand (foot?), so if Mari plays well, he’ll keep his spot. If he struggles, Gabriel will get a start or two to claim the starting role.