By Rich Jones | The Mirror |
Gabriel Magalhaes is closing in on an Arsenal transfer – and he will have to select a new shirt number.
The Lille defender has agreed a five-year deal with the Gunners and already passed a medical, according to The Times.
Despite interest from Napoli and late contact from Manchester United, Magalhaes is expected to line-up alongside William Saliba in a new-look back-line for Arsenal.
Saliba and Magalhaes have been amongst the top young defenders in Ligue 1 this term and are being tipped for bright things in north London.
But Saliba has benefitted from getting to Arsenal first after his signing from Saint-Etienne last summer after he took the No.4 shirt just a few weeks ago.
Saliba is already in Arsenal training and has had that squad number confirmed by the club, meaning Gabriel will not be able to wear the number which has brought him so much success at Lille.
Instead, he could take the No.6 shirt, another traditional centre-back number which has been unused at Arsenal since the departure of former club captain Laurent Koscielny.
The likes of Tony Adams, Martin Keown and David Rocastle have worn the No.6 in the past and Gabriel could soon join that list.
There is also a chance the No.5 shirt becomes available if Gabriel bides his time with Sokratis Papasthopolous linked with a summer departure.
He is reportedly on Napoli’s radar as an alternative to Gabriel if they miss out to Arsenal.
Other players are being linked with exits including No.15 Ainsley Maitland-Niles, No.20 Shkodran Mustafi and No.16 Rob Holding.
If Gabriel is keen to keep a No.4 on his back then he would have to head into the 40s with Reiss Nelson holding the No.24 shirt, Granit Xhaka No.34 and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang using No.14.