Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhaes privately reached out to him last campaign after the Manchester United legend criticised the Brazil defender.
Despite being an ever-present in the Arsenal line-up since his arrival in the summer of 2020, Gabriel still has some way to go before convincing Ferdinand.
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The former Red Devils player claimed that the Arsenal ace was the defender most likely to make a mistake out of those in the back-line.
Things haven’t got off to a good start for Gabriel this season, with the defender starting all three of Arsenal’s Premier League matches so far from the bench.
It is a decision from Mikel Arteta that has surprised many considering the former Lille star hasn’t made many glaring errors in his three years at the Emirates.
Ferdinand doesn’t seem shocked at the recent developments and when it was put to him that perhaps Gabriel had been omitted from the Arsenal team because he is the most likely to make an error, he made the surprise claim regarding previous talks he has had with the Gunners star.
“I said that last year,” he told his YouTube channel. “And he didn’t like it. He DM’d me. In the DM’s. This is a big thing, for me, with players today, they can’t take criticism.
“Players today, not all of them, I have had quite a few players who have come through their agents. I have said ‘don’t you get your agent to speak to me. You get your player to come and chat to me and I will chat to him, no problem’.
“Yes, he (Gabriel) come direct to me, which I respect. But, at the same time, I don’t think he saw what I was saying.”
Whether there is weight to Ferdinand’s suggestion that Gabriel is the most error-prone Arsenal defender is difficult to determine.
The Brazilian star has been one of the few players to survive Arteta’s evolution of the Arsenal team and that is a testament to his quality.
With speculation regarding a possible move to Saudi Arabia continuing to linger, Arteta’s persistence when it comes to benching Gabriel this season is only adding more fuel to the fire, despite his own claim that it is only a tactical call.
When asked if the transfer rumours were behind why Gabriel has lost his spot, the Arsenal boss said: “It’s about the games that we were expecting, what I was expecting, how we wanted to defend and attack and our belief it was the best thing.”