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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Gabriel says Arsenal signing has exceeded all expectations

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Gabriel Magalhães has said teammate Declan Rice has exceeded his expectations since signing for Arsenal last summer.

Rice became Arsenal’s record signing when he arrived from West Ham in a £105m transfer last summer and has had an outstanding debut campaign in North London.

The 25-year-old has been a driving force in Arsenal’s title challenge and has impressed in a more adventurous role, scoring seven times and providing eight assists in the Premier League.

Rice was named runner-up for the FWA Footballer of the Year award, behind Manchester City’s Phil Foden, and Gabriel has admitted that the impact of the midfielder has surprised him despite the excitement that greeted his initial arrival.

“I didn’t expect it to be honest,” he told the club’s official website.

“I had watched Declan before and knew he was a top player. He’s been having a big impact on the team here and really helping us out so we’re happy to have him.

“He has so much quality and can play in two or three different positions so of course we’re thrilled to have him in the team.”

Arsenal head into the final weekend of the Premier League season in contention to win a first title in 20 years. The Gunners will be crowned champions if they beat Everton and Manchester City fail to do so against West Ham. Despite requiring a slip-up from the league leaders, Gabriel said there is still belief within Mikel Arteta’s squad.

“There is still belief,” he said. “We are ready for the last game. We’ve prepared really well this week and we’re ready to go to the last game and win and see what happens. In football, anything can happen.

“Everything is normal and we prepare like we do for every game. What we’ve done this year and all the support for us, we’re very happy.”

Read – De Zerbi: Four potential destinations for outgoing Brighton manager 

See more – Every time the Premier League title was decided on the final day

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