Ranking the five favourites to sign highly-rated centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes

Regular readers of transfer talk will have no doubt come across the name of Gabriel Magalhaes in recent weeks, the centre-back having been linked with several of Europe’s leading clubs following his performances in France.

The Brazilian is the latest exciting talent to have come through the Lille production line and the club look set to make another huge profit, should they sanction the sale of the 22-year-old this summer.

Manchester United – 14/1

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be considering defensive options as he bids to find a long-term partner for Harry Maguire in central defence, Victor Lindelof having failed to truly convince despite being utilised most often alongside the world’s most expensive defender.

Solskjaer was overheard telling Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake – who subsequently moved to Manchester City – of his interest in signing a left-footed centre-back this summer, and Gabriel fits the bill as a left-sided player capable of playing the ball out from defence.

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The Brazilian’s pace would also compliment the rather less mobile Maguire, but it remains to be seen whether the Red Devils launch a move – their focus seemingly centred around securing the signing of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho at present.

Inter Milan – 12/1

Inter Milan have made significant progress under the stewardship of Antonio Conte this season, finishing just a point behind champions Juventus to secure their highest finishing position since the 2010/11 campaign.

Conte, however, is believed to be keen to strengthen his centre-back options despite his side boasting the best defensive record in Serie A last season, reports suggesting one of either Milan Skriniar or Diego Godin could depart this summer.

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The sale of either player would leave an opening in Conte’s preferred back three system, and the left-footed Gabriel could provide balance to the Italian’s backline. Recent reports have suggested Inter have expressed an interest in signing Manchester United’s Chris Smalling following an impressive loan spell at Roma, however, which could rule this one out.

Everton – 7/1

Everton’s expensive outlay in last summer’s transfer window did little to boost the club’s prospects, a hugely underwhelming season delivering a 12th-placed finish in the Premier League, their lowest in more than a decade.

Optimism has been raised, however, by the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, the three-time Champions League winner presenting the Toffees’ wealthy owners with an opportunity to press the reset button on a squad filled with misguided signings.

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One area of concern for the Italian is the club’s lack of depth and quality in central defence, Mason Holgate’s improvement failing to fully compensate for the mediocre showings of Michael Keane and Yerry Mina.

Everton were believed to have been close to a deal earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic struck, but now face a fight to convince the player of their project amid competition from leading clubs in Europe.

Napoli – 5/4

Napoli entered the race for Gabriel and were reported to have leapfrogged Everton in the running, the Italians having already secured the signing of another of Lille’s starlets in Victor Osimhen.

The club-record outlay on Osimhen – believed to be in the region of €60m – means that the remainder of Napoli’s transfer business may depend on their ability to raise funds, with the sale of star defender Kalidou Koulibaly a possibility.

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Koulibaly’s potential exit is far from imminent, however, despite reported interest from Manchester City and the Senegalese’s presence in Naples may block any move for Gabriel.

Napoli are keen to rebuild this summer following a disappointing season and have already shown ambition with the big-money capture of Osimhen, so the capture of Gabriel ahead of extensive competition would come as little surprise.

Arsenal – 5/4

Joint-favourites alongside Napoli are Arsenal, the north London outfit having scouted the defender extensively having long been made aware of his availability this summer.

Mikel Arteta is desperate to revamp his squad despite financial restrictions at the Emirates, and views Gabriel as a player who could bolster a defence which has long been the club’s Achilles’ heel.

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Much may depend on the Gunners’ ability to shift their deadwood with a whole host of players, including the likes of Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, reportedly up for sale in a bid to raise transfer funds.

The club’s hopes are boosted by a favourable relationship with Lille after securing the club-record signing of Nicola Pepe from the French side last summer, though any move for Gabriel may come after prioritising the free transfer capture of Willian from Chelsea and a new contract extension for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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