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Arsenal to battle with Everton & Leicester for Lille defender

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Bengaluru, Feb 24: Arsenal are ready to battle it out with Everton and Leicester City in the Summer in the pursuit of LOSC Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, according to Le10Sport.

The Gunners were interested in signing the central defender during the January transfer window but the move was unsuccessful. However, as per reports, they still maintain an interest in the 22-year-old Brazilian and may return with a bid in the summer.

The 22-year-old centre-back made the move to Lille in 2017 for a fee of around £1.5million. He has since been on loan at Ligue 2 side Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb. But he seems to have finally made his breakthrough in the first-team this season being an ever-present figure in the Lille backline appearing 21 times in the league so far.

He has been impressive with his tackling prowess combined with his aerial presence as a well-gifted passer of the ball. He has won 3.4 aerial duels per game this season with a success rate of 65% while completed 1293 passes this season with a completion rate of 82%. His tally of 1.8 tackles per game, as per whoscored, along with an average of 3.4 clearances per game with an incredible percentage of 83% is also quite impressive.

His glowing display has precisely attracted several suitors and Arsenal reportedly have been one of the prime contenders. Arteta's side, however, aren't the only interest party. The French outlet reportedly are also aware of Everton's interest while ​Leicester City are believed to be in the mix as well.

But with Arsenal already having a good relationship with the side due to their Summer negotiation with Nicolas Pepe, it may give them an edge but it is still early to comment on.

Gabriel, however, would not come as cheap as reportedly he holds a €30m (£25m) release clause.

Can he settle the Arsenal backline?

Arsenal are a shamble at the back, with defenders like David Luiz, Sokratis, and Shkodran Mustafi nowhere near at the level envisioned in a top side. Although under Arteta their defensive performance has improved but they are likely to include more options at the back in Summer.

Arsenal could ship off one or two defenders from their backline in the Summer and the Lille man could slot in easily in the gap. However, having said that, a lot could also depend on how new loan signing Pablo Mari fares this season.

The Gunners will also have Saliba back in the team in the Summer which also makes competition for a place further tough. But Saliba too is still only 18, and surely he won’t be making regular appearances any time soon and is a long-term option. Gabriel also isn’t that experienced, but he has played at a higher level and could be a better likelier option for immediate first-team football if he does move to Arsenal.

As of now, Arteta first have to make sure of his current squad and need to show a bit more patience towards the Lille defender meanwhile keeping update on the situation of the player.

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Story first published: Monday, February 24, 2020, 14:38 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 24, 2020
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