Arsenal monitoring Gabriel as Mikel Arteta eyes first Arsenal signing

Lille’s Gabriel is among the central defenders Arsenal are monitoring ahead of the January transfer window (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal are monitoring Lille’s Brazilian centre-half Gabriel ahead of the January transfer window.

The Gunners appointed Mikel Arteta as their new head coach last week and the Spaniard has wasted little time in outlining the areas of the squad he believes are in desperate need of reinforcing.

Arteta is keen to add a left-sided central defender with his two most experienced centre-halves, David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, both having struggled this season.

Shkodran Mustafi has featured only sporadically this term having been deemed surplus to requirements by Unai Emery, while Rob Holding has struggled to rediscover his best form and maintain fitness since recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered 13 months ago.

Calum Chambers won the man of the match award in front of a watchful Arteta on Saturday at Everton as Arsenal kept a rare clean sheet, only their third of the current Premier League season to date, but the new head coach has identified defensive reinforcements as a priority.

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Arsenal agreed a £72million fee with Lille in the summer to sign Nicolas Pepe and could go back to the French club in January for his 22-year-old  former teammate Gabriel.

Any potential deal, however, according to The Athletic, could be complicated by Gabriel’s selection in the Brazil Under-23 squad who will compete in  an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament in Colombia as of the end of January.

Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi, who drove the Pepe deal, has already warned Arteta he is likely to be handed only limited funds when the transfer window opens next month.

‘Last summer we did an incredible effort where we were very grateful to the support we got from our ownership.

‘We went really one step further and made a real investment that increased our expectations for the season.

‘The winter window is much more for tactical. We are going to get our conversations now between Mikel and Edu to see what things we can do.’Again, the strategic window and the one Edu and his team are really working on is for the long-term and that’s the summer window.’

MORE: Mikel Arteta facing Gabriel Martinelli setback as Brazil call-up Arsenal star for Olympic qualifying tournament

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