JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images

Speculation about Gabriel Magalhaes joining Arsenal is bound to get ramped up in a big way very soon.

ESPN reported this week that the Brazilian centre-back wanted to join the Gunners, before it was claimed by UOL that the North London club had made contact with Lille over signing him.

It’ll take around £18 million for Arsenal to bring him to the Emirates Stadium and maybe, just maybe, there’s been a big development on that front in recent hours.

That’s because Gabriel has been omitted from the squad for this afternoon’s friendly with AZ Alkmaar.

Premier League Bottom Half Best XI

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Premier League Bottom Half Best XI
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And more interestingly, the number four shirt, which belonged to the 22-year-old last season, is being worn by another player today.

This comes one day after Gabriel uploaded a photo on Instagram – with an English caption – of him striking a football, writing: “What makes me happy.”

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe, a former team-mate of Gabriel, responded with a comment about his English.

Is it nailed on that he’s joining Mikel Arteta’s side? Nope, because he’s also linked with a move to Everton, but there’s major signs that he’s leaving the Ligue 1 side and at this stage, with all the speculation this week, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s bound for North London.

JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images

In other news, Report: Tottenham make major breakthrough in transfer chase, announcement immiment