Paul Merson gives verdict on Arsenal's bid to sign Gabriel Magalhaes
Paul Merson says signing Gabriel Magalhaes will be a "big statement" for Arsenal in the transfer market
Paul Merson says Arsenal will be making a “big statement” in the transfer market if they complete a deal to sign Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.
The Gunners have been heavily linked with a swoop to sign the Lille centre-half over the past few months but Arsenal haven’t been able to get a deal over the line.
The north London side are thought to be close to finalising a sensational transfer swoop for the 23-year-old ahead of the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
Arsenal are facing competition from Everton, Napoli and Manchester United for Magalhaes but reports in the British media suggested last week that the Gunners were set to win the race.
Former Gunners star Merson admitted that Arsenal will pull off a huge transfer coup if Magalhaes goes on to complete a transfer to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
“If Arsenal sign Gabriel Magalhaes I think it’s a big statement because of all the other clubs that were after him,” Merson told Starsport.
“If Arsenal have managed to get him in without having Champions League football to offer, I think that’s huge.
“I like what Mikel Arteta is doing. But there are plenty of teams around them getting better as well.
“Chelsea have bought amazingly well. They are going to close the gap on Liverpool next season.
“It could be one of the tightest league title races in a long time. But Arsenal have a long way to go to get to that level.”
Magalhaes has scored one goal in 52 games in his Lille career so far after the Brazilian established himself as a regular in the first team for the French side.
The 6ft 3ins defender moved to the Ligue 1 club from Brazilian side Avai in 2016 before he gained first-team experience on loan at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb.
Arsenal beat Liverpool FC on penalties in the Community Shield on Saturday night to secure their second trophy in successive months after the 2-1 win against Chelsea FC in the FA Cup final.
The Gunners will start the new Premier League campaign with a clash against London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday 12 August.