Kevin Campbell has labelled summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes as the best centre-half at Arsenal.
The Brazilian has taken to English football like a duck to water, winning three consecutive player of the month awards for September, October and November.
Speaking to Football Insider, the former Highbury favourite acknowledged that whilst it is harsh to drop Pablo Mari due to his recent good form, he was just a stop-gap due to the ex-Lille man’s fitness issues.
Campbell said: “It would be very harsh on Pablo Mari but he was only the incumbent because of a suspension and the Covid protocols that kept Gabriel out. But the best centre-half at the football club is Gabriel, let’s not get it twisted, he is the best at the club. Unfortunately, someone is going to have to make way and I expect Mari to be the one.” (via Football Insider)
Who should start for Arsenal in the left-centre back role?
Whilst it would be harsh to drop the £6.3m-rated former Manchester City defender, he has to be the man to make way. Gabriel has proven far too crucial to Mikel Arteta’s side to be sitting on the bench.
If anything the £23.14m man can strengthen his growing partnership alongside Rob Holding, who has also been a cornerstone in Mikel Arteta’s side this season.
Mari proves to be a slower centre-back compared to Gabriel, who has shown off his strength and pace in his debut campaign in the English top-flight. The Brazil youth international averages the second-most interceptions and the third-most clearances for the Reds.
He also proves to be much better in possession than his Spanish counterpart, having a higher pass accuracy and completing more passes per game.
Mere quality is the reason Gabriel should be starting ahead of Mari following his return to fitness. It proves sad but the South American is a far better defender than the European, making dropping him an easy choice.