Merson reckons it will be a “big statement" from Arsenal if they sign Gabriel.
The centre-half is close to sealing a £27million move from Lille to North London.
Merson told the Daily Star: “If Arsenal sign Gabriel Magalhaes I think it's a big statement because of all the other clubs that wanted him.
“If Arsenal have managed to get him in without having Champions League football to offer, I think that's huge.
“I like what Mikel Arteta is doing. But there are plenty of teams around them getting better as well."