Paul Merson says it will be a ‘big statement’ from Arsenal if they complete a deal for Gabriel Magalhaes.
The Gunners look set to sign the Brazilian defender after he reportedly agreed a five-year contract with the club.
A number of teams from across Europe have expressed interest in signing Gabriel and Arsenal hero Merson says it will be ‘huge’ if his former club win the race to secure his signature.
The Gunners finished only eighth in the Premier League last season but at least finished the campaign with some silverware after beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
‘If Arsenal sign Gabriel Magalhaes I think it’s a big statement because of all the other clubs that were after him,’ Merson told Starsport.
‘If Arsenal have managed to get him in without having Champions League football to offer, I think that’s huge.
‘I like what Mikel Arteta is doing. But there are plenty of teams around them getting better as well.
‘Chelsea have bought amazingly well. They are going to close the gap on Liverpool next season.
‘It could be one of the tightest league title races in a long time. But Arsenal have a long way to go to get to that level.’
Arteta’s side have the opportunity to test themselves against the Premier League champions when they face Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday.
And Merson added: ‘The Community Shield is a benchmark for Arsenal to see how far behind Liverpool they still are.
‘They could beat Liverpool and win the game. Of course they could. But that’s what Arsenal are – a cup team.
‘On their day they can beat anybody. But how often is their day? Over 38 games it’s Liverpool who are consistent. That’s what Arsenal need to find. Consistency.
‘That’s why this game is a benchmark for them. They need to see how far behind they are.’
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