According to a report in French publication France Bleu, Arsenal are showing interest in Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhães.
The 22-year-old centre-back has been on Napoli’s radar for quite some time and Manchester United and Everton have also been linked.
L’Equipe reported earlier this week that all three clubs plus two others, one of which could be PSG, had submitted bids for the player who is valued in the region of €30 million.
It’s since been suggested that Napoli, who’ve just bought Victor Osimhen from Lille, are getting cold feet while United have opted to recall Chris Smalling from his loan at AS Roma; the suggestion being that they may focus their funds on recruiting Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
A Brazil under-20 international, Gabriel moved to Lille from homeland side Avai for €3 million in 2017 and has since spent time out on loan with Ligue 2 side Troyes and Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb.
He has been a regular in the Lille first team since the midway point of the 2018/19 season when he and Pepe helped the club to a second-place finish behind PSG.
This term, he featured 24 times in Ligue 1 before its suspension and also featured in all six of the club’s Champions League group stage matches.
Lille’s president, Gerard Lopez, believes the player is destined for the top.
“I feel he is among the top five dominant central defenders in Europe right now,” he said recently.
“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.”
It remains to be seen whether we are indeed interested in recruiting another centre-back. We’ve got so many on the books at the moment that we’d definitely have to get rid of at least two to make room for Gabriel and that would suggest the futures of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Mustafi are potentially in doubt.