Mikel Arteta could now recall Gabriel Magalhaes to the Arsenal XI against Manchester United if the Gunners do not receive a new offer for his transfer to Saudi Arabia soon.
That is according to Dean Jones, who says that Gabriel knows there are Saudi Arabian sides interested in his transfer from Arsenal. The Pro League outfits keen on the centre-back are also optimistic of testing the Gunners’ staunch position that the 25-year-old is not for sale.
A number of players have moved over to the Middle East this summer who were in stronger positions at their previous clubs than Gabriel is at Emirates Stadium. Arteta is still only giving the Brazilian a backup role in north London despite regularly rotating his line-up this season.
Arsenal strongly oppose Gabriel’s transfer to Saudi Arabia
Arteta stressed that he dropped Gabriel from the Arsenal line-up against Nottingham Forest on the opening day for tactical reasons. But the Spaniard did not yet recall his £27m signing from LOSC Lille in September 2020 away at Crystal Palace and at home to Fulham last week.
Gabriel fell to Arsenal’s bench against the Reds to create space for Ben White to play in the centre with William Saliba. Thomas Partey has also started each of the north London club’s Premier League matches thus far this term as a right-back. While their left-back has rotated.
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Jakub Kiwior became Arsenal’s latest left-back against Fulham after Jurrien Timber’s ACL injury against Nottingham Forest and Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card at Crystal Palace. All the while Gabriel has played 24 minutes and failed to come off Arsenal’s bench against Fulham.
Yet despite Arteta leaving Gabriel on Arsenal’s bench as Fulham came back to draw 2-2, the Spaniard could now recall the Sao Paulo native against Manchester United this Sunday. The Gunners coach is open to Gabriel starting should no Saudi club land his transfer before then.
Wright has branded the Brazilian a ‘problem’ this year
Arsenal are determined to fend off the interest in Gabriel’s transfer but Arteta’s aware of the threat Saudi sides pose. Even if Fabrizio Romano claims the Gunners would even reject bids worth €200m (£172m) for the defender whom Arsenal legend Ian Wright has called ‘naïve’.
“We were very fortunate that he didn’t give away a penalty because he was offside,” Wright said on Premier League Productions, via quotes by the Metro, after losing 3-1 to Manchester City in February. “But, for me, the pass [for Jack Grealish’s goal] is into nowhere.
“City are setting traps for him there and as soon as they win the ball, bang, they get the ball back and [Erling] Haaland’s awareness for a striker was very good because he could have easily had a shot. But he’s made sure that he passed it on so that they definitely get the goal.
“For me, it came down to a bit of naivety and inexperience. But they are the youngest team in the league and you’re going to get those type of mistakes. For me, Gabriel doesn’t know where it’s going. That’s going to be a problem and it was.”