“It was tough” – Arsenal centre-back opens up on how Mikel Arteta had to convince him to stay at Emirates last summer


Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes has revealed the role Mikel Arteta played in persuading him to stay at the club after a difficult start to the 2023-24 season.

The Brazilian’s position in the team was under serious threat at the beginning of the current campaign despite playing a key role for them last season.

Jurrien Timber‘s arrival from Ajax last summer meant that Gabriel would have to contend with Timber for a starting spot in Arsenal’s defense. However, following the injury suffered by the Dutchman, Gabriel eventually got guaranteed adequate playing time in Arteta’s starting XI.

The 26-year-old defender recently reflected on what he felt was a difficult period for him. He went on to reveal that it took a conversation with the head coach to convince him to stay put at the Emirates.

In a recent interview with PA Media via Goal, he said:

“It was tough, obviously at the start. I wanted to play and it was very difficult for me but I understood what the coach had to do.”

He continued:

“It is difficult for any player to not be in the team but now I’m back in and I want to keep on working hard to prove my worth. [Arteta] spoke to me and obviously explained the reasons behind the decision.

“Why I should stay – but the most important thing was to remain focused and concentrate – he knew how important I was to the team, so I’m happy to be back and to be able to help the team in every game. I’m happy to be back in the team and hopefully, I can help them moving forward.”

Gabriel has been a mainstay in the Gunners’ defense after the first few games of the season, partnering with William Saliba.

How has Gabriel Magalhaes performed for Arsenal this season?

The Brazil international is enjoying a productive 2023-24 football campaign with the Gunners as they once again battle it out for the Premier League title. Arsenal are third and only behind Manchester City and league-toppers Liverpool in the table.

Magalhaes has been a steady presence in defense for Arteta’s team, making 31 appearances across all competitions, with 21 of those coming in the league. He has helped them keep five clean sheets in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal have overall kept a joint-highest eight clean sheets in the league this campaign. They will next face West Ham United away on Sunday, February 11.

Edited by Aditya Singh

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