By George Aluo
Brazilian defence ace, Gabriel Magalhães has opened up on why he settled for Arsenal at a time when several clubs, including Manchester United and PSG did everything to get him sign the dotted lines.
Gabriel who this season laced boots for French Ligue 1 side, Lille said his decision to be a Gunner had first to do with the fans and secondly the special interest expressed on him by the club’s manager, Arteta.
The 22-year-old defender who spoke moments after arriving at the Emirates early this week said the Gunners are backed by passionate supporters.
“Arsenal’s passionate support base played a big role in my joining the club,” Gabriel who the Gunners spent around £26m to sign said. Gabriel it would be noted penned a five-year deal. Fellow Brazilians David Luiz and Willian were on hand to welcome Gabriel to the club. He was handed the no.6 shirt previously worn by the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Tony Adams and Steve Bould.
“So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal, and that played a big part in me signing for this club,” Gabriel further disclosed. On the role played by Arteta, Gabriel said getting a call from the coach was a big motivation.
“Having the coach himself calling you to say he wants you in his squad motivates you a lot. That is the very reason I am here today. We did not talk about [details], he just told me he is aware of my quality, my capacity and how far I can go. He also said he will be very demanding with me. I know he is a great coach and I will make progress with his help,” Gabriel said.
Everton and Napoli also made moves for the Brazilian whose arrival may see Arsenal offload some defenders in a bid to recover the money spent on him.