It seems supervisor Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu weren’t alone in convincing Gabriel Jesus to hitch Arsenal. In June, weeks earlier than the 25-year-old’s arrival was lastly confirmed, his namesake Gabriel Magalhaes was additionally on the case.
“Gabriel is a extremely good man,” the centre-back tells Sky Sports activities of his new team-mate. “After all, it helps that we’ve the Brazilian hyperlink. Once we have been on worldwide responsibility, we mentioned his future and I used to be telling him, ‘Come to Arsenal! Come to Arsenal!'”
“Possibly I had a little bit of an affect there.”
Gabriel utters the final line jokingly. But when Jesus already feels at house in his new environment – and his explosive begin to life at Arsenal suggests he does – then it’s partly right down to the countryman and worldwide team-mate serving to him settle in.
“He’s somebody who may be very targeted and actually enjoys working onerous,” provides Gabriel. “He’s right here to enhance the staff and he’s already doing that. He has come right here with massive expectations. He needs to realize massive issues with Arsenal. I feel he’s actually going to assist us.”
The previous Manchester Metropolis striker, excellent in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Friday, is now one in every of 4 Brazilians – and, in fact, three Gabriels – within the Arsenal dressing room.
“Generally folks shout, ‘Gabi, Gabi!’ and all three of us go searching,” says Gabriel with a smile.
“However out on the pitch, one is Jesus, the opposite is Martinelli, and I am Gabi. It is a bit sophisticated for folks, however it’s not so tough for us. We speak quite a bit and we perceive one another effectively.”
Gabriel is talking to Sky Sports activities beneath the baking noon solar at Arsenal’s London Colney headquarters. The temper is optimistic.
Final 12 months, they began the season with a tumultuous run of three consecutive losses. On Saturday, they face Leicester on the Emirates Stadium aiming for a second consecutive win.
“We’re undoubtedly in a greater place now,” says Gabriel.
“There have been a number of adjustments on the membership in the summertime and it was vital to make a very good begin. The dedication and focus we confirmed towards Crystal Palace have been key to getting the three factors.”
The themes of dedication and focus resurface repeatedly throughout our interview and they’re qualities Gabriel sees in new signings Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos, in addition to Jesus. They’ve, he says, added appreciable high quality too.
“I feel when new gamers are available, they at all times increase the extent of high quality within the squad. That goes for the brand new signings but in addition the gamers who’ve come again from loans.
“Everyone seems to be right here to assist the staff. Having extra high quality will assist us get Arsenal the place it must be.”
That, in fact, means again into the Champions League.
Arsenal fell agonisingly quick final season, ending two factors behind Tottenham in fifth place. However their strengthened squad, now older and wiser, appears effectively set to ship enchancment this time round.
Gabriel, a £27m signing from Lille two years in the past, shall be key to it.
Final season, the Brazilian began all however three of Arsenal’s Premier League video games, taking part in extra minutes than any of his team-mates and making his presence felt in each containers.
Certainly, in addition to rating high for tackles, clearances, touches and profitable passes, Gabriel scored 5 objectives, together with three along with his head, his aerial prowess serving to to make Arsenal one of the crucial harmful groups within the division from set-pieces and additional underlining his rising significance to the aspect.
“I feel the Premier League is unquestionably one of many hardest leagues to play in and I’d say I’ve undoubtedly improved quite a bit since arriving right here,” he says. “That goes for my passing, my heading, and varied different facets of my sport.”
Gabriel is grateful for the shut consideration he has acquired from Arteta and his employees – “I feel the coaches have helped me quite a bit,” he says – and, whereas he opts to conduct this interview in Portuguese, his understanding of English has improved markedly too.
“The primary 12 months was a bit more durable, when it comes to settling in,” he provides.
“That does not imply the second 12 months was simple, however it was definitely higher. My English had improved by then. I used to be in a position to talk higher with my team-mates on the pitch.”
Arteta described Gabriel as a participant with an “unbelievable future” final season and the preliminary language barrier didn’t forestall him from shortly turning into a frontrunner of their defence.
Gabriel, whereas softly spoken in entrance of the media, is a vocal presence on the pitch who can normally be seen orchestrating Arsenal’s backline and directing team-mates out and in of possession.
“I like having that accountability,” he says. “It is vital to have leaders in defence who talk quite a bit with the entire staff. We’re all bettering our communication, I feel.”
That enchancment might be seen within the velocity with which Arsenal’s new arrivals have tailored, together with centre-back William Saliba, whose excellent Premier League debut alongside Gabriel towards Crystal Palace, following three consecutive mortgage spells in France, earned him widespread plaudits.
As with Jesus, Gabriel is taking part in a key function in serving to the younger Frenchman mattress in.
“He is a younger participant who got here right here at a really younger age after which went out to get some expertise. Now, regardless of his age, he’s already taking part in for the French nationwide staff. That tells you ways good he’s. He is right here to assist the staff and he is a really promising expertise.
“He is an effective buddy of mine already,” Gabriel provides. “We communicate French collectively, in order that helps. He has added numerous high quality to the staff and I feel he has a superb future forward of him.”
Gabriel, in fact, is effectively positioned to supply recommendation and steering to the 21-year-old having made the transition from France, the place he spent three years with Lille, to England at roughly the identical age.
I’m very joyful right here. I’ve acquired a very good relationship with my team-mates and I’m absolutely dedicated to the undertaking.
“I’ve been right here for 2 years now, so I do have expertise that I can use to assist him,” he says. “However on the similar time, he might help me. He has numerous high quality and numerous bodily energy out on the pitch.
“We now have comparable qualities. I feel we complement one another effectively.”
Arsenal supporters now hope Saliba will proceed to blossom in a lot the identical method as Gabriel, whose progress has led to reported curiosity from European giants Juventus and Barcelona this summer season.
“It is at all times good to get that recognition however I am actually targeted on Arsenal,” he says.
“I’m very joyful right here. I’ve acquired a very good relationship with my team-mates and I’m absolutely dedicated to the undertaking.
“I’m satisfied that, with the undertaking we’ve, we will obtain quite a bit.”
It’s quiet at London Colney, aside from occasional interludes when Gabriel’s team-mates drive previous the realm the place we’re seated on their method house, however final season the staff’s each transfer was intently adopted by Amazon’s cameras for the All or Nothing documentary.
“I’ve seen it,” Gabriel says, smiling once more. He now hopes the sequence will assist to carry the gamers and supporters even nearer collectively.
“It is good for exhibiting the truth of what’s really occurring within the dressing room within the day-to-day. Individuals can perceive issues a bit extra and see how totally different it’s from what they may think about.
“As gamers, in fact we at all times play to win. However typically we lose video games and there are tough moments. Issues occur. I feel the documentary does a very good job of exhibiting the truth of what goes on.”
The cameras are gone now. However for Arsenal, that actuality continues. Count on Gabriel, particularly, to method Saturday’s sport towards Leicester with as a lot dedication and focus as ever.