The latest word stemming from France today suggests that Arsenal have overtaken Napoli in the race for Lille star Gabriel Magalhaes.
Gabriel, a 22-year-old central-defender, has established himself as one of European football’s most highly-regarded young stoppers over the last couple of seasons.
On the back of a series of loan spells away from Lille, the Brazilian was finally handed the chance to impress as part of the first-team setup at the Stade Pierre Mauroy last season.
And this is an opportunity which Gabriel has since gone on to grasp with both hands.
The gifted stopper’s standout showings at the heart of Lille’s backline over the second-half of the campaign eventually resulted in his permanent introduction to Christophe Galtier’s starting XI from the get-go in 2019/20.
Before the French season was brought to a premature end by the COVID-19 outbreak, Gabriel had earned starts in 23 of his side’s 28 Ligue 1 outings, along with all 6 of Les Dogues’ Champions League fixtures.
The South American’s impressive displays throughout the campaign, though, have not gone at all unnoticed across Europe.
Recent months have seen a host of clubs, chiefly in the Premier League, named as suitors of Gabriel, with those in England evidently of the opinion that the 22-year-old’s physical attributes would translate well to the all action style of play in the country.
Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes of Losc Lille during the during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Valencia CF and Losc Lille at Estadio de Mestalla on November 5, 2019 in Valencia, Spain (Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and chiefly Everton have all been tipped as potential destinations, with recent media speculation having hinted that Arsenal are also keeping a close eye on the Lille star.
Nevertheless, for some time now, it is Serie A, rather than the Premier League, which has been viewed as Gabriel’s most likely eventual landing spot.
This comes with Napoli and Lille rumoured to have been locked in discussions over a big-money double deal, which would have seen the Partenopei land both the Brazilian stopper, and Dogues star attacker Victor Osimhen.
The latter has of course since completed a move to the Stadio San Paolo:
As outlined above, though, if the latest speculation in the French media today is to be believed, then Napoli appear to have been overtaken in the race for Gabriel.
The new frontrunners? Arsenal.
As per a report from Francebleu, who cite information which they have exclusively gathered, ‘the situation has changed’.
It is claimed that the Gunners have put themselves in a position to ‘snatch’ Gabriel’s signature.
Little further information is provided, other than Francebleu highlighting the fact that Lille have already secured a replacement for their soon-to-be former defender, in the form of Sven Botman.
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