Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn voiced his excitement over Gabriel signing
- Credit: PA
Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has had his say on the imminent arrival of Gabriel at the Emirates, voicing his excitement at the prospect of the Brazilian being brought in to solidify Arsenal’s defence.
For many years now, Arsenal have faced criticism for their defensive vulnerabilities and as Mikel Arteta seeks to nullify this weakness with the imminent signing of Brazilian centre-back , Gabriel Magalhaes, former Arsenal Defender, Nigel Winterburn, has voiced his excitement at the prospect of a high-quality defender finally being brought in to shore things up at the back.
“When someone gets linked with Arsenal I tend to do a bit of research on them and have a look at what they’re about,” Winterburn told bookmakers.co.uk.
“For me, it’s all about the type of personnel you’re getting as much as the ability. But he’s highly regarded, a left-sided centre-half who is supposed to be very powerful.
“Arsenal have got problems at centre-half and they can’t seem to get a consistent pairing together with the players they already have in that position, so it’s quite obvious that that’s a position Arteta feels he must strengthen.”
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However, Winterburn did voice some concern regarding the time it has taken for the signing to get over the line, where he said - from an Arsenal fan’s perspective - it does make him a little anxious.
“It looks like a really positive signing. The one slight worry I have is that it seems to be taking a very long time, even though he’s been linked for a while and Arsenal seem to be the main contenders for his signature, but I’m always a bit weary of Arsenal signings when they don’t get done quickly. But I still hope he signs for the club in the next few days.”
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It’s no secret that Arsenal have been defensively below-par for some time now and with Gabriel’s imminent arrival at the Emirates, Winterburn has warned that at least one defender will have to make way for the Brazilian.
“I think there’ll be more than one of them going, because Arsenal have got a host of centre-halves and it may come down to which players are going to be limited in appearances going forward.
“Age may come in to it too – all of those players will be looking at the situation and wondering how often they’re going to be playing and what their chances of being a first choice are.”
Although he was unable to pin down exactly which Arsenal defender(s) should make way for Gabriel, the former Arsenal Full back who made 440 appearances for the club put forward a strong case for Arteta to keep hold of one defender in particular.
“And if not, are they happy to sit on the bench and wait for opportunities? The one player out of the four that I think might be worth holding on to is Rob Holding.
“Up until his injury I would have said he was Arsenal’s most consistent defender, but he’s struggled to get back to full fitness and get that consistency back.
“I don’t know whether there’s a slight doubt that he’s going to ever get that consistency back, but before his injury he’s the one centre-half I felt was able to offer that.”
However, the ex-Gunner did go on to say that if Holding has the most potential, then theoretically, there could also be an argument for Arsenal to cash in on their defender with the most appeal.
“So it would be a bit of a surprise if Holding was to leave, but then you have to consider Arsenal’s financial situation. They might feel as though he’s the one they might be able to get the most money for, so in terms of the club trying to balance the books it might be a good option for them to sell.
“But with the amount of games Arsenal are going to be playing next season it makes sense to retain at least two of them.”
Elsewhere, as Arsenal’s pursuit of Thomas Partey looks to have hit a stalemate, Winterburn admitted that Arsenal would always struggle to persuade the Ghanaian to make a move to North London, especially when the biggest clubs in the world are also showing an interest.
“I’m always a little bit worried when the likes of Barcelona are also interested in your target – even when they’re in disarray – because they’re a huge club and you don’t want to be fighting them for a player, because most clubs would lose out in that situation.
“From my point of view, I’ve always said the structure right through the centre of the team is so pivotal to how a team plays.
“You need strong players straight through the middle – centre-halves, central midfielders and your centre-forwards – they really need to be of a very high standard at this level.
“Arsenal need to look at those areas and Thomas Partey has been linked with a host of clubs, including Arsenal. If Barcelona’s interest is genuine, then I think it was always going to be very difficult for Arsenal to sign him.”