Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson says there is more to Gabriel’s absence from Arsenal’s starting lineup than meets the eye.
The Brazilian has not started any of the club’s three league fixtures so far this season and, writing in his column for Sportskeeda, Merson claims it is not just footballing reasons that have led manager Mikel Arteta to keep the defender on the bench:
“I think something is up with Gabriel Magalhaes. I don’t see why Mikel Arteta would break up the effective centre-back pairing of Gabriel and William Saliba. It worked so well for them last season. So I think there’s more to his exclusion from the starting lineup than it being a matter of team selection.”
Merson is right to point out that you don’t simply split up a successful centre-half partnership on a whim, especially one that was a key component of the club’s title challenge last campaign.
Transfer interest could have turned Gabriel’s head
There have been suggestions that the 25-year-old is attracting interest from Saudi Arabia. Although the transfer window has closed for British clubs, Saudi teams can still sign players until September 20th.
If Gabriel remains at the Emirates after that date, there is a decent chance that he will be recalled to the starting eleven before the end of the month.
How will Arteta set up his defence against Manchester United?
Many fans are calling for Gabriel to return to the team for the clash against United this weekend. After the Gunners conceded twice at home to Fulham last weekend, there is definitely a good case for the Brazilian international to be reintroduced into the lineup.
Goonernews have included the player in our predicted XI but, based on Arteta’s recent team selections, he could well be among the substitutes once again on Sunday.