Gabriel Magalhaes has opened up on the difficult transfer decision he had to make last summer.
The Brazilian was the subject of transfer interest from the free-spending Saudi Pro League in 2023. Reigning champions Al-Ittihad were keen to bolster their defence and targeted Gabriel after being snubbed by Raphael Varane.
The speculation surrounding a potential exit was fuelled by none other than Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who decided to surprisingly drop the centre-back at the start of the season despite him having been a key cog in the backline that helped the Gunners to finish as runners-up last term.
A move ultimately did not materialise and Gabriel remained at the Emirates. It was the right decision as the Brazilian is now once again a regular starter, though he has revealed that it took some convincing to get him to stay in north London.
What did Gabriel say?
Speaking to PA, the 26-year-old said: “It was tough, obviously at the start. I wanted to play and it was very difficult for me but I understood what the coach had to do. It is difficult for any player to not be in the team, but now I’m back in I want to keep on working hard to prove my worth.”
“He [Arteta] spoke to me and obviously explained the reasons behind the decision and why I should stay – but the most important thing was to remain focused and concentrate. He knew how important I was to the team, so I’m happy to be back and to be able to help the team in every game.”
“I’m happy to be back in the team and hopefully I can help them moving forward.” Gabriel has so far made 31 appearances this season, scoring three goals and adding an assist as well, which is already one goal contribution more than he managed all of last year.