Why Gabriel could be a good addition to a weak Arsenal defence
According to The Athletic (h/t Daily Mirror), Premier League side Arsenal are keeping tabs on Lille defender Gabriel.
Arsenal have conceded 30 goals from 20 league games so far, which has seen them fall to 12th place and now new manager Mikel Arteta is tasked with bolstering his options in defence ahead of the January transfer window.
In a bid to strengthen their backline, the Gunners have been linked with a move for highly-rated Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
However, his big price tag might force them out of a potential move, with the club’s head of football Raul Sanllehi having already warned Arteta regarding the shortage of funds to be spent in January, the report added.
This might force them to move their interests on Gabriel, who is also a target for the North London side. Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Brazilian defender has been rock-solid at the back for Lille, keeping 7 clean sheets in his 16 appearances for the French outfit.
The youngster has been a growing figure in the Lille line-up this season under coach Christophe Galtier, slowly carving a name for himself in the first-team.
However, it has not been the easiest of journeys for the centre-back, who was bought by Lille from Brazilian side Avai early in January 2017.
Loan spells at French lower division side Troyes and Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb soon followed, with the defender being offloaded from the French side in order for him to get more game time.
After plying his trade with two different sides in one year, Gabriel returned to his parent club last year and played 14 matches in the league that season.
However, this has been his breakthrough campaign, with the player turning out to be one of Lille’s key players this season, which has seen them climb to 4th in the league table. He was also a regular in Lille’s Champions League campaign this season, featuring in all 6 group games.
However, it turned out to be a disastrous outing for them, with the French side losing all but one of their 6 games, which saw them finish bottom in a group which also included Valencia, Ajax and Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s defence this season seems to be in shambles, with none of their centre-backs putting up a decent display so far.
Constant injuries to defenders Rob Holding and Calum Chambers had seen former manager Unai Emery relying mostly on summer signing David Luiz and Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
However, both the seasoned campaigners have looked far from impressive and have been troubled by inconsistencies so far, diminishing Arsenal’s hopes of a revival of fortunes.
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With Arsenal’s issues at the back remaining a major concern, new boss Arteta badly needs a defender and the young Gabriel could be a great addition considering his low price-tag.
With nothing working out in their favour at the back so far, Arsenal clearly need an established defender amongst them and Gabriel would be perfect, with his experience playing in the highest level.
Moreover, he still has time on his part and could be a great future investment for the Gunners, who lack quality young centre-backs in their squad. Hence, they should make a move for the young Brazilian sooner than later.