Everton have reportedly made ‘progress’ in their bid to sign Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille with the defender expected to become Carlo Ancelotti’s first signing at Goodison Park.
The Brazilian centre-back has emerged as a primary target for Ancelotti as he bids to strengthen his defensive options at Everton ahead of next summer, with the 22-year-old having impressed for the Ligue 1 side this season as the club push towards Champions League qualification.
Arsenal and Chelsea have also been linked with the defender following his emergence in French football, and the Guardian are reporting that progress has been made over a deal which could cost in the region of £30m.
Lille president Gerard Lopez has spoken on Magalhaes future and admits the star is keen to leave the club this summer, and believes the player he describes as ‘an absolute machine’ is ‘among the top five dominant central defenders’ in European football at present.
“It’s true that he would like to go and try something else out,” Lopez told Sky Sports. “We haven’t taken that decision yet, but he’s received a number of offers. I feel he’s closer to one club than others, but nothing’s done yet so we’ll see.
“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.
“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.”