Edu per­suades £26.4m Gabriel to join Ar­se­nal

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Mike McGrath and Sam Dean

Gabriel Ma­gal­haes is in Lon­don to­day to take a med­i­cal as he looks to com­plete his move to Ar­se­nal.

The Brazil­ian cen­tre-back, 22, will wrap up a trans­fer from Lille worth £22.6mil­lion up front. With add-ons, the deal will be worth £26.4mil­lion for him to be­come the club’s sec­ond ma­jor sign­ing of the sum­mer fol­low­ing his countryman Wil­lian’s ar­rival on a free trans­fer.

It is un­der­stood that Edu, Ar­se­nal’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, con­vinced Gabriel to join them de­spite in­ter­est from other teams, in­clud­ing Manch­ester United and Napoli.

The de­fender also had con­ver­sa­tions with head coach Mikel Arteta, who has al­ready proven him­self to be highly ef­fec­tive at con­vinc­ing play­ers to buy into his pro­ject.

Gabriel’s de­ci­sion to join Ar­se­nal is, there­fore, a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for Edu, who was forced to step up and lead the negotiatio­ns af­ter the sud­den de­par­ture of for­mer head of football Raul San­llehi this month.

Edu is tak­ing the lead on trans­fers, with sup­port from Arteta and con­tract spe­cial­ist Huss Fahmy.

Gabriel is be­lieved to con­sider the Emi­rates Sta­dium, and work­ing un­der Arteta, to be a good fit for his pro­gres­sion.

He will be play­ing Europa League football next term, but play­ing in the team get­ting put to­gether by Arteta was at­trac­tive.

Arteta has re­tained David Luiz for the 2020-21 sea­son and also has Wil­liam Sal­iba re­turn­ing to the club af­ter he was loaned back to St-Eti­enne last sea­son.

Shko­dran Mustafi, Sokratis Pa­pas­tathopou­los, Pablo Mari and Rob Hold­ing are his other cen­tre­backs and the Spa­niard will de­cide on which will be al­lowed to leave.

Mean­while, Ar­se­nal are un­der­stood to have hired Brent­ford set­piece coach An­dreas Ge­org­son, who has left the Cham­pi­onship club.

Clos­ing in: Gabriel Ma­gal­haes has trav­elled to Lon­don and will have a med­i­cal at Ar­se­nal

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