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Written by Martin Graham | April 14, 2022

The latest reports suggest that Barcelona are targeting Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes in a summer swap.

Gabriel joined the Gunners in the summer of 2020 from French club LOSC Lille and has grown into an important player in the team, seamlessly forming partnerships with fellow Brazilian David Lewis, and then signing Ben White summer 2021 at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

So far, he has made 62 appearances for the club and is a major reason why Arsenal’s above-average level of defense has helped him return to the competition for European positions next season.

Barcelona need a left center back despite having two of them in Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti. Both Frenchmen are expected to be transferred in the summer, necessitating the acquisition of a new left-footed centre-back.

The 24-year-old Brazilian fits the bill and Spanish outlets Diario Sport Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez is allegedly pressuring the club to make a summer move for the player. Relations are good between Barcelona and Arsenal following the transfer of Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, and have been built on the back of other deals in the past.

It has also been reported that Arsenal are keeping an eye on three Barcelona players they could use for any deals for Gabriel in the summer. Arsenal are eyeing Memphis Depay, who joined the club only in the summer in a free game from Olympique Lyonnais in France, as well as goalkeeper Neto Morara and midfielder Ricky Puig.

Depay has struggled with frequent injuries that have pushed him down the standings as newcomers Ferran Torres and Aubameyang from Manchester City and Arsenal respectively filled the place Depay had.

Neto has been struggling to get match time at Barcelona and has barely played this season for the Catalan giants. On the other hand, Puig slipped down the rankings with the emergence of young La Masia teammates Pablo Gavira “Jaffe” and Nico Gonzalez.

Depay is an option for Arsenal who are set to lose Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah in the summer, while Neto could replace Bernd Leno, who is also expected to end his time at the Emirates.

Arsenal have promising young defender William Saliba on loan at Olympique de Marseille and could risk losing Gabriel. Arsenal signed Saliba as a 19-year-old from Saint-Etienne in 2019 but have not used him since.

His string of strong displays in Ligue 1 alerted Arsenal to the gem in their hands and the Frenchman was promoted for a comeback. However, they will have to do a lot to convince Saliba not to make his move to Marseille permanent as the French club have expressed an interest in keeping him – along with fellow Arsenal loanee Mathieu Guendouzi – for the foreseeable future.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal and Barcelona Saberman make a deal that would see Gabriel move to Camp Nou next season with Saliba in mind either as a direct buy, or a swap deal that includes any of the three Arsenal targets currently at Barcelona.

Martin Graham is a sports writer for the MFF Forum

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