Arsenal hope to complete a deal for Lille defender Gabriel in the next 24 hours with the Brazilian set to undergo a medical with the club on Thursday.
Lille accepted offers from Arsenal and Napoli but the 22-year-old has decided to join the Gunners. Mikel Arteta identified his side’s defence as a major weakness when he arrived last December and his tactics in the second half of the campaign where designed to cover-up the Gunners’ deficienccies at the back.
However, the Spaniard wants to play a more expansive brand of football next term and he believes that Gabriel – along with William Saliba – will allow him to play a higher line.
According to widespread reports, Gabriel will arrive in London tomorrow to undergo his medical and he’s set to sign a five-year deal with the club.
The Brazilian’s arrival is a major coup for Arsenal and Arteta, particularly given the level of interest in the defender. Napoli pushed relentlessly for his signature, while Manchester United entered the race in recent days but to no avail.
Gabriel is set to become Arsenal’s second signing of the summer following the arrival of Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea. Arteta hopes to add Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey and he’s also keen on signing a full-back.
However, it’s likely after Gabriel’s arrival that the club will sanction a number of departures to balance the books. Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi, Calum Chambers, Sokratis, Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are all available for transfer.