Arsenal will be worried about Gabriel to Barcelona transfer because of seven players

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Arsenal could be set for a fight to keep hold of defender Gabriel with Barcelona reportedly interested in the centre-back ahead of this summer’s transfer window. The Catalan giants have previously raided the Gunners for eight of their players. And Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the only one the Gunners were genuinely happy to get rid of.

Barcelona have got their mojo back since Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman as manager earlier in the season.

And with their club legend at the helm, they’re primed to back the Spaniard when the transfer window reopens at the end of the campaign.

Reports have suggested Gabriel is now in Barcelona’s sights, with the Catalan giants determined to challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title next time out.

And history suggests Arsenal have every right to fear the Brazilian quitting the Emirates for the Nou Camp this summer.

Over the years, eight players have crossed the divide from north London to Catalonia.

And Aubameyang is the only one Arsenal were genuinely happy to let go, with the Gabon international moving to Barcelona on a free back in January.

In 2000, Arsenal wanted to keep hold of both Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars.

Yet the pair, attracted by the prospect of playing in Barcelona’s famous red and blue colours, rocked Arsene Wenger by leaving.

Petit struggled during his time there, however, and later recalled struggling to adapt by saying: “I turned up for a friendly, and when I went in to meet my team-mates most of them ignored me.”

Petit also later revealed that he was only signed to strengthen Joan Gaspart’s push for the club’s presidency, too.

“The night I arrived, the boss asked another French player, Richard Dutruel, to translate. Richard, visibly embarrassed, told me not to laugh, but said the boss wanted to know what my best position was!” he said.

“I thought he was joking. But I soon realised I was only there as part of Gaspart’s plot to become president.”

Overmars wasn’t at his best for Barcelona at the time of his arrival but still enjoyed a successful four-year stint on their books.

In 2003, Arsenal were also stunned when Giovanni van Bronckhorst quit north London.

And the current Rangers boss was a Barcelona hit, helping them win the Champions League in 2006 at the Gunners’ expense.

After that final, Thierry Henry wanted to leave.

But while Arsenal were fortunate to keep him for another 12 months, the Frenchman then joined Barcelona in the summer of 2007.

Initially, he struggled to adapt. But he rediscovered his best form under Pep Guardiola, playing alongside Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o in an electric front three.

In 2015, the current Belgium coach elaborated on his decision to try a new adventure by saying: “I’d never considered leaving Arsenal. But I was 29 years old and in form.

“And I did not know if Arsene would be staying.

“It was not easy and when I left I cried. I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m a competitor and I had to leave.”

Arsenal hoped Alexander Hleb would spurn Barcelona when the Catalan titans came calling in 2008.

Yet they were unsuccessful in getting the winger to stay, wile the Belarusian international never lived up to expectations during his spell in La Liga.

Cess Fabregas had left Barcelona for Arsenal years before moving in the opposite direction in 2011.

And Alex Song and Thomas Vermaelen then crossed the divide in 2012 and 2014 respectively, though both players will be remembered as Nou Camp flops.

Now, with Arsenal facing a fight to keep Gabriel, it would be understandable if Mikel Arteta and Edu feared the worst.

Yet what ultimately happens is something only time will tell.

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