La Liga Giants Linked With Move for £10m-Rated Arsenal Defender as Transfer Window Reaches Apex
Arsene Wenger could be set to sanction the departure of one of his central defenders this summer, despite moving to a system featuring three at the back with a pair of wing-backs, with Primera Division side Valencia considering a move for Gabriel.
The Mirror report that the Spanish giants' new coach Marcelino is interested in the fiery 26-year-old, who moved to the Emirates two and a half years ago in a deal worth just over £11m.
The 51-year-old coach is said to have admitted an interest in Jeison Murillo and Ivan Marcano of Inter and Porto respectively in addition to Gabriel, saying: “I think they are possible. We’re talking about important players who already know our league. They speak Spanish, and that’s important, so their adaptation would be very quick.”
The Brazilian centre-back started 15 Premier League games last season, sitting behind Laurent Koscielny and last summer's big-money signing Shkodran Mustafi in the pecking order - and the return to fitness of Per Mertesacker has seen him pushed even further from the first team.
Combined with the emergence of Rob Holding, Wenger's willingness to play left-back Nacho Monreal on the left-hand side of a back three and the Frenchman's admission that he plans to use Mohamed Elneny as a utility centre-back this season, Gabriel's path to first-team football at the Emirates looks more or less blocked.
The Gunners are expected to have something of a clear-out of a number of squad players before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, with Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Lucas Perez all expected to depart.