Gabriel Magalhaes should be staying at Arsenal, with both player and club rebuffing transfer advances from Saudi club Al-Ittihad. That is, if you can believe what Mikel Arteta says. And given that he’s the manager with a hand in transfers, you probably can trust him.
Arteta categorically said that interest from the Saudi club in no way influenced Gabriel losing his starting spot for the opening two Premier League matches. The Arsenal manager reiterated that the lineup and the Brazilian’s non-inclusion was a tactical choice, “it’s about the games we were expecting, that I was expecting, and how I wanted to defend and attack and what I believed was the best thing.”
The Arsenal boss emphasized Gabriel’s importance to the team saying, “trust me, Gabriel is gonna play a lot of games.” The centerback was the only Arsenal player to start all 38 league games. He played all but 9 minutes of the season, only Everton’s James Tarkowski, who played every minute, played more.
Something has felt off about the Gabriel to leave Arsenal transfer rumor from the get-go. Players who just signed contract extensions don’t go from playing nearly every available minute to out the door in a few months. Title-challenging teams, especially ones constructing a roster expected to compete for multiple seasons, don’t break up their young centerback partnership. Top clubs don’t sell projected starters late in the transfer window.
The rumor is fodder for the transfer mill, nothing more. Outlets connecting dots that weren’t meant to be connecting to meet content requirements. Gabriel isn’t moving to a Saudi club that, by the way, are currently over their allotted number of international players registered per league rules. According to reports from France, Al-Ittihad have already turned their attention to PSG’s Marquinhos.
Nor is he moving to Real Madrid to replace the injured Eder Militao. Gabriel is the Arsenal vice-captain. He took the armband from Martin Ødegaard against Crystal Palace. He ain’t going anywhere.