Sports News

Arsenal sign defender Gabriel from Lille

(Reuters) - Arsenal have signed Brazilian centre back Gabriel Magalhaes from French side Lille on a long-term contract, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Coupe de la Ligue - Semi Final - Olympique Lyonnais v Lille - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France - January 21, 2020 Lille's Gabriel in action REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot/File Photo

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but British media reported Arsenal paid around 27 million pounds ($36.29 million) for the 22-year-old.

Gabriel made 34 appearances in all competitions for Lille last season as they finished fourth in Ligue 1. He also had loan spells at French club Troyes and Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb during his three-year stay at Lille.

"So many fans were sending me messages asking me to join Arsenal and that played a big part in me signing for this club," Gabriel told the club website here.

“It was a very surreal experience, there were offers coming from a few different clubs.

“I spoke a lot with my family and my agents, I also spoke with some of Lille’s directors, but as I said, this club’s history and traditions and the team project for the next few years were very motivational for my decision to come here.”

Gabriel is Arsenal’s second major signing in the close-season following the arrival of compatriot Willian on a free transfer last month.

He joins the north London club as manager Mikel Arteta looks to shore up his defence ahead of the new campaign with centre back William Saliba, who was signed last year and loaned back to St Etienne, also set to make his debut this season.

“He (Gabriel) has many qualities which will make us stronger as a defensive unit and as a team,” Arteta said.

“He has proved with Lille that he is a defender with many outstanding attributes and we are looking forward to watching him grow as an Arsenal player.”

Arsenal, who won the Community Shield last week by beating Liverpool 5-4 on penalties, begin their new Premier League campaign with a trip to Fulham on Sept. 12.

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Toby Davis