Arsenal’s three Gabriel Magalhaes replacements for Man City clash as Jurrien Timber return looms

Arsenal have three choices to replace Gabriel Magalhaes ahead of Manchester City, with Jurrien Timber’s return looming large on the horizon

Gabriel Magalhaes has withdrawn from the Brazil squad having suffered an injury scare that both Arsenal and the national team deemed too serious for him to take part in his nation’s friendly matches. Gabriel has been an ever-present figure in the Gunners’ first team since returning to the side having started the season on the bench with Thomas Partey joining the back four instead.

His partnership with William Saliba has proven to be one of the best in the league and his performances are as consistent as they have ever been in his career in North London so far. He has been able to remove the silly mistakes and instead risen to become a leader amongst players in his position in Europe.

His goalscoring abilities from set pieces have also been pivotal, having scored more than any defender in the league since his arrival in 2020. While understands the withdrawal is precautionary and not to be serious, there is potential for him to be out and even a risk of missing the clash away at Manchester City. So we take a look at the three potential candidates to replace him in the line-up.

Jakub Kiwior
Having impressed out of position at left-back, there is great encouragement that in his more comfortable left centre-half position Jakub Kiwior will be a fine replacement for Gabriel. The Pole has developed swiftly but has never been given the opportunity to thrive in his more typical position that he operated in at Spezia and with Poland.


It would mean the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko replacing him at left-back but the depth available in the Arsenal team makes this far simpler. Gabriel’s injury is not thought to be too serious and his absence from Brazil is more of a precaution – therefore having Kiwior switch in if necessary should only be a short-term need.

Takehiro Tomiyasu
Having now returned to the squad after another lay-off, Takehiro Tomiyasu could operate in the left-sided centre-half role he has done so well in for his national team. Kiwior could therefore remain at centre-half and both Tomiyasu and Saliba have a good relationship off-field understands now being able to be realised on the pitch.

Tomiyasu has shown great defensive awareness and despite playing the majority of his games at full-back his greatest strengths are when out of possession which bodes well for a switch into the centre of the back line. Again, another example of depth available to Mikel Arteta, if he can stay fit too which has always been the biggest question.

Jurrien Timber
With the conclusion of the international break comes the excitement that Jurrien Timber may finally be making his consistent introduction to the squad for competitive matches. With Gabriel out, if Timber is deemed ready he could come into the right-back position, shifting over both William Saliba and Ben White into a new centre-half pairing but one where both players are very comfortable with each other.

The inverted right-back role looks perfect for a player like Timber. Alternatively, Timber played exclusively at centre-half for Ajax in his final season and therefore could play in the back two but a shift of both White and Saliba appears to make the most sense on paper at least.

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