Former Premier League winner Rio Ferdinand has slammed Arsenal’s failure to recruit reliable central defenders after summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes’ performance against Liverpool last weekend.
The Brazilian has mostly been solid for us this season. He was our best player in each of his first three months here, but he caught the infamous virus in December and that pushed him to the sidelines for a while.
Gabriel returned to his best a few weeks after and was incredible for us. His performance in the North London derby and also against Olympicos in the Europa League were brilliant, but he has come under a lot of criticism after his display against Liverpool.
Ferdinand has claimed that players like the Brazilian come and have an odd good game, but all of them later capitulate.
Ferdinand: Gabriel is unreliable
He said on Vibe with Five: “Just going back to Gabriel, when’s the last time Arsenal signed a centre back who they can rely on completely? He [Laurent Koscielny] was one, before that probably Sol [Campbell]? Kolo [Toure]?
“It’s unbelievable, they’ve gone from having absolute rocks at the back to they can’t sign a good centre half for me. They’ve signed so many, Gabriel, there’s so many that come through who have the odd good game and then it just capitulates.
“I watched Gabriel on the first day of the season against Fulham and I thought he looks alright, he looks quite quick, aggressive, got a nice left foot, but then just folds, it doesn’t make sense. I can’t get my head around it. Is it the team that there’s just no protection or what?
“The defenders just look open and exposed and unable to deal with situations. I know you’re playing against Mo Salah who’s one of the best in the world right but they don’t make it easy for themselves they don’t make it look pretty.”
The Insider’s View:
Gabriel did struggle against Liverpool after half-time, there is no hiding that. Salah made his life extremely difficult, and it was a second-half to forget for the Brazilian.
Ferdinand’s overall assessment is understandable but his criticism of Gabriel is extremely harsh. The Brazilian has arguably been Arsenal’s best defender this season, and although he wasn’t great against Liverpool, he is still a very good player.
It is also important to note that Gabriel is in his first season in the Premier League. He is still only 23, which is extremely young for a central defender.
He will only get better as he plays more and he has the potential to be among the best in the league in a few years time. Irrespective of what people say, Arteta and Edu deserve a ton of credit for signing him last summer.