Arsenal to fend off Saudi interest as they ‘hold positive contract talks’ with star performer

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal transfer
Gabriel Magalhaes and Kai Havertz.

Arsenal have reportedly held ‘positive contract talks’ with Brazil international Gabriel Magalhaes, who has been linked with the Saudi Pro League.

The Gunners invested around £27m to sign Gabriel from Ligue Un outfit Lille in 2020 for around £27m.

Gabriel has made over 150 appearances for Arsenal across all competitions as he has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.

The 26-year-old has benefitted from the return of William Saliba as the pair have combined superbly in the last two seasons. They have been vital this season to ensure Arsenal arguably have the best defence in the Premier League.

Ex-Arsenal defender Lauren has argued that Gabriel and Saliba are the “best pair in England at the moment”.

“There isn’t a better centre-back partnership than Gabriel and William Saliba in the Premier League, in my opinion,” Lauren told reporters.

“I was with the team back in the summer during their pre-season in the USA. I was talking to Saliba and Gabriel and I told them it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen two centre-backs with such a strong understanding of each other’s games.

“Their communication and coordination is exceptional, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen that at Arsenal. They’re the best pair in England at the moment, without a doubt.”

Gabriel set for a new contract?

According to a report from The Daily Mail, Arsenal have ‘held positive contract talks’ with Gabriel as they look to ‘reward’ the defender.

‘The club have moved to reward him with fresh terms.

‘The 26-year-old still has over two years left on his deal so there is no urgency to bring a swift resolution to talks with the player fully focused on the team’s charge of title climax.

‘But initial discussions have been described as positive and will continue in the coming weeks.

‘There was some doubt over Magalhaes’ future at Arsenal at the start of season after starting the campaign on the peripheries of the first-team amid interest from clubs in the Saudi Pro League.’

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Gabriel is likely to start for Arsenal on Sunday as they face rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby.

Ahead of this match, Mikel Arteta has encouraged his players to “put the rivalry aside”.

“We played there a few times already and it’s a great place to play football,” Arteta told reporters.

“We have to put the rivalry aside and we have to live the game with passion and the intensity that it demands rather than anything special because the game has everything you need to enjoy it.”

He added: “For sure we’re going to be fully ready.

“We have a bit of time to recover and prepare from the Chelsea game and I’m sure we’re going to be fully ready to go again on Sunday.

“I love the fact that we played four games. We had some great experiences. It’s been a really demanding week.

“We had some great results in the last two. That’s boosted the confidence of everybody. We’re in a good place.”

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