Gabriel Magalhaes looks set to leave Lille this summer with a host of clubs around Europe said to be chasing his signature.
The 22-year-old centre-back had a standout season with the Ligue 1 side as they finished fourth in the shortened French season.
A number of Premier League clubs are said to be interested in signing him including Manchester United and Everton but Arsenal are in pole position right now with reports suggest a ‘deal in principle has been agreed’.
Lille president Gerard Lopez appears resigned to losing the defender, valued at around £27million.
“It’s true that he would like to go and try something else out. We haven’t taken that decision yet, but he’s received a number of offers,” he told Sky Sports.
“I feel he’s closer to one club than others, but nothing’s done yet so we’ll see.
Ligue 1 appearances: 23(1)
Ligue 1 goals: 1
Clean sheets: 12
Successful tackles per 90: 1.8
Clearances per 90: 3.4
Aerials won per 90: 3.6
Pass success: 82.2 per cent
“I wouldn’t want to say any more as I respect the player too much. The mechanism I have in place, and we saw that work so well with Nico [Nicolas Pepe], is that I have a certain price in mind for a player, and at the end of the day it’s the player’s choice to go and play where he wants to play. That’s the respect that I have for them.”
Here at talkSPORT.com, we’ve taken a look at everything you need to know about the Ligue 1 star.
Club career so far?
The defender came through the ranks at Brazilian club Avai FC before being snapped up by Lille in 2017 for £1.5m while he was still a teenager.
Gabriel was loaned out to Ligue 2 side Troyes and then to Dinamo Zagreb before breaking into the Lille first-team.
The 22-year-old made 24 Ligue 1 appearances in the shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic where his side finished fourth.
The French league was ended after 28 games due to COVID-19.
He also featured six times in the Champions League as Lille finished bottom of Group H, which contained Valencia, Chelsea and Ajax.
Gabriel has played for Brazil’s Under-20s and featured at the South American Under-20 Championship in 2017.
The defender has yet to receive a call-up to Brazil’s senior squad.
What has been said?
Lille president Gerard Lopez lavished praise on the young centre-back earlier this year.
He said: “I feel he is among the top five dominant central defenders in Europe right now. His statistics, which aren’t well covered outside of France, shows that his percentage for winning duels is pretty unheard of in a league that’s extremely physical.
“He’s an absolute machine, so to me, he’s well on his way – if not this year – to potentially a really big club. I’m certain he’s on his way to the Brazilian national team at some point.
“He’s been linked to two clubs in the UK and he’s clearly been linked to other clubs that have either enquired or moved forward with proposals for him, but we’re not in a hurry and we’re not playing right now. The player isn’t on the pitch.”
Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton have all reportedly been linked with the 22-year-old.
Gabriel is thought to have made a trip to Merseyside earlier this year to see Everton’s training ground but their £18m bid was rejected. Lille are thought to want something in the region of £27m.
Napoli are also interested and journalist Gianluca di Marzio claims the Serie A club have a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to sign him.
Lille have already sold striker Victor Osimhen to the Italian side this summer.
Gabriel told Brazilian outlet UOL: “I follow, but I try to stay apart. I always tell my managers that, at this moment, I want to know as little as possible so as not to lose focus on the pitch.
“I am happy to see my name being linked with great teams. It shows that the work I’ve done so far has been good.
“I also see many fans of the two teams commenting on my posts on Instagram [laughs]. It’s funny.”
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Chelsea had been previously linked with the defender and when asked about Blues boss Frank Lampard, Magalhaes added: “He was a great player without a doubt. He is one of those players that I admired on the small screen.
“But we have to be calm with all this. It is early and I renewed my contract with Lille until 2023.”
How Arsenal could look with Gabriel
If we take the Gunners’ final formation of the season into consideration, along with the signing of Willian, we’ve got a pretty good idea of how they might look.
Gabriel would slot into a back-three alongside David Luiz and fellow newcomer William Saliba.
Willian and Pepe would operate as wide No.10s behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who would move to a line-leading role.
Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are the steel to allow wing-backs Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin to get forward and support in wide areas.