Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta says he’s been impressed with the way new signing Gabriel Magalhaes is adapting to life in England and that the centre-back is benefitting from Arsenal’s more solid defensive structure.
Signed for £27 million from French club, Lille in early September, the 22-year-old has already become a regular this season, starting three of our four games in the Premier League and performing diligently in the League Cup win over Liverpool.
A physically imposing presence on the left side of the backline, the Brazilian has also been a willing student of our playing philosophy helping to play the ball out from the back with real calm and intelligence.
Asked about the defender following the Gunners’ 2-1 win over Sheffield United , Arteta said : “I am very impressed because I’ve always said that in this league, in this country, one of the most difficult positions to play is as a centre-back because you get challenged and exposed many times and tested many many times.
“I saw from the first day, he has a lot of personality, he has big courage to play and he’s not impressed by anything.
“He’s very secure, very stable mentally as well throughout the game and I think he has the physical and technical attributes to adapt really well to the league.
“That’s why we signed him, but credit to him because to do it in this short space of time, I think that’s a big thing.”
For the most part this season, the Gunners have lined up with a fluid defensive system that has seen us alternate between a four-month backline in possession of the ball and a five-man setup without it. Arteta feels the structure is helping with Gabriel’s integration.
“I think for him to be stable, for him to perform, he needs the right structure around him and the right organisation,” said the boss.
“I think we are getting much better at that. I am seeing a lot defenders involved saying it’s something we had to improve. Yes, it’s made us a more solid team. As you can see he doesn’t get exposed in many open spaces.
“This is more about the function and the structure of the team and that’s going to help them. The better our process is with the ball, the better we progress into the final third, [the better] we’re going to help our strikers so the defence is the same.”