Gabriel was also linked with Manchester United before making the move to Arsenal, and says that once the Gunners were interested, he knew where the next step in his career lay.
“I was trying not to hear too much about transfer speculation because you always end up thinking about everything that’s going on,” Gabriel told Arsenal Player.
“After Arsenal came into the equation, he told me about other clubs that were interested, but I chose Arsenal because it was a dream for me. It’s a club that I really like and always watched on TV, with fantastic history.
“Arsenal is a huge club, one of the biggest in the world, and I told my agent from the start that if Arsenal came in for me, I wanted to wear the shirt, play at the stadium and feel the fans’ support because it’s a club I’ve always watched.
“I’m now very pleased to be here today alongside top players. It’s a childhood dream of mine.”
Gabriel spent time on loan at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb after leaving Brazilian club Avai for Lille, and says these moves around Europe helped develop his character and game.
“It was very hard at the start when I arrived at Lille [in 2016] because I was in a city where I didn’t speak the language and was very young, so it was tough,” he added. “I learnt so much there.
“After my loans at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb, I really matured. When I went back to Lille, I was more mature and was more familiar with Europe and the style of play.
“When I started playing, thank God I was able to do so regularly and put in good performances, helping Lille reach the Champions League. That was very fulfilling for me.”
This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League.
Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri – Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.