Gabriel Magalhaes is the Cheaper Version of Dayot Upamecano. by AI
Dayot Upamecano has the makings of a truly elite aggressor. He dives into tackles and wins them, bullies opposition attackers, and wants to intercept the ball. He oozes bags of confidence on the pitch. He never seems in doubt of his options. He maintains that permanent aura of born royalty. When you see him play, you think of Sergio Ramos or Virgil Van Dijk. And that is why Leipzig rejected our 55 million euro offer for him last season. They know they have got the real deal.
Enter Gabriel Magalhaes as Arsenal’s second choice for that role.
Aggressive in the tackle. Physically strong. Great at dealing with crosses and high balls and one of the best passing defenders in France, he is a cheaper version of Dayot Upamecano.
If you are a team that wants to push up the pitch and put your opponents under permanent pressure, you need a Dayot Upamecano.
Or a Virgil Van Dijk.
Or a Sergio Ramos.
You see where this is going?
Or a Shkodran Mustafi.
Or a David Luiz.
You see it yet? These are centrebacks that are aggressive-progressors: they are physically dominant, victorious in the tackle, great passers of the ball from the back, and don’t shy away from a physical contest.
These types of central defenders are needed in high-pressure teams that like playing in the opponent’s halves. Why?
First of all, if you are going to be so high up the pitch, then it must mean there must be space behind you and the opponent know this. Therefore, they want to play through passes for their attackers to run onto, or to a player who will hold the ball and lay it off like Oliver Giroud.
To deal with through passes, you need defenders who are aggressive and can intercept the ball. An interception has the added advantage of sustaining your attacking pressure once the defender passes. If the pass gets through and a player is running towards the goal, you need defenders who are speedy enough to keep up and strong enough to physically unsettle the attacker. Even better if they can catch up. Think Van Dijk.
To deal with them having players like Oliver Giroud, your defenders must be physically strong enough to unsettle him so that he cannot make a clean layoff and turn around.
Sergio Ramos and Virgil Van Dijk are perfect examples. They can pass, intercept, keep up, physically dominate, and head the long balls away. Every team that wants to play really good, expansive football must have these kinds of defenders.
Arsenal have two in Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz, but those two are very bad at decision-making. Despite that, Mikel Arteta has no option than to use them. Upamecano would be the perfect target. He seems to be the heir to Van Dijk and Sergio Ramos’ throne, but he is going to be very difficult to acquire. Hence Gabriel Magalhaes.
For his talent and quality, Gabriel is an exceptionally good buy and Arsenal will be hoping that he develops into the player they want.