The Catalan press might be licking their lips at the prospect of Gabriel joining Barcelona but the Brazilian defender maintains he’s “very happy” at Arsenal.

While there’s nothing to suggest there was any substance to SPORT’s article, which claimed the likes of Neto, Memphis Depay and Riqui Puig would be available in part exchange, it definitely doesn’t hurt that our centre-back has poured cold water on the story before the transfer window opens in the summer.

Gabriel has formed a strong partnership with Ben White in the centre of Arsenal’s defence this season and looks a far more assured and consistent presence compared to the player that joined from Lille for £27 million in September 2020.

More than anything, he’s benefitted from an improvement in his English which allows him to communicate with (and b*llock) his teammates more freely.

Reflecting on his time in England, he told Premier League Productions: “Well in my first season I certainly learnt a lot.

“It’s been a real challenge here and I am more and more settled every day. I feel better and better with each passing game.

“At the same time, we know we all can’t be perfect in every match. We do make mistakes.

“But I feel good, I feel at home at Arsenal. It’s a great squad to be a part of and together I am sure we can achieve a lot. I am very happy here.”

After last week’s two defeats, the odds on the Gunners qualifying for the Champions League have slimmed dramatically. All the same, Gabriel maintains that the squad are focused on achieving their goal.

“Reaching the top four is our aim, but we know how tough it will be,” he said.

“It’s a big challenge but I do believe we can get there. We are working hard and it’s the target we want to achieve. We have to stick together. We need to be focused to get good results.”

Arsenal have a chance to get back on track against Southampton on Saturday before a massive trio of matches that sees us take on Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham in quick succession.