Gabriel Magalhaes explains why he snubbed rival clubs to sign for Arsenal

Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes has had an excellent start to life at the Emirates, starting all but one of the Gunners' Premier League games this season and picking up the club's Player of the Month award in September and November.

The Brazilian signed from Lille over the summer in a deal worth around £25m but was linked with a host of other clubs, including Napoli, Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, Gabriel has explained that he opted to join Arsenal because it was a "childhood dream" to play for the Gunners.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, Gabriel said: "I was trying not to hear too much about transfer speculation because you always end up thinking about everything that’s going on.

"After Arsenal came into the equation, he told me about other clubs that were interested, but I chose Arsenal because it was a dream for me. It’s a club that I really like and always watched on TV, with fantastic history.

"Arsenal is a huge club, one of the biggest in the world, and I told my agent from the start that if Arsenal came in for me, I wanted to wear the shirt, play at the stadium and feel the fans' support because it’s a club I’ve always watched.

"I’m now very pleased to be here today alongside top players. It’s a childhood dream of mine."

Despite being just 22, Gabriel has already played all over the world, starting his career in Brazil with Avaí, making the move to France to join Lille and going out on loan to Troyes and Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb.

He believes these experiences have stood him in good stead to hit the ground running at Arsenal, adding: "It was very hard at the start when I arrived at Lille [in 2016] because I was in a city where I didn’t speak the language and was very young, so it was tough.

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"I learnt so much there. After my loans at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb, I really matured. When I went back to Lille, I was more mature and was more familiar with Europe and the style of play.

"When I started playing, thank God I was able to do so regularly and put in good performances, helping Lille reach the Champions League. That was very fulfilling for me."

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