Lille president Gérard Lopez has revealed that Gabriel Magalhaes is set to make a decision on his future ‘early next week’, with two clubs having arrived ‘late to the party’ in the race to sign the in-demand defender.
Magalhaes is the latest talented player off the Lille production line to attract attention from across Europe, with a host of clubs reportedly vying for the highly-rated centre-back’s signature this summer.
The 22-year-old excelled to help Lille secure a fourth-placed finish and qualification for next season’s Europa League, though will be allowed to depart this summer having informed the French side of his desire to for a new challenge.
Lille president Lopez has now discussed the defender’s qualities and confirmed Magalhaes will leave the club in the current transfer window, admitting the player will make a decision on his future ‘early next week’ with several interested sides having met the club’s asking price.
“He is a real fighter and has immense physical presence but knows how to use it smartly,” Lopez told Sky Sports. “He is still raw and I know the Brazil national team are looking at him very seriously for the A-team. I think he is at the start of something big and he does everything to succeed.”
“He is one of the players that we allowed to exit the club this summer, he asked for it and wants to try something else.
“We clearly told him what our expectations were, we spoke to a number of clubs, our expectations were met by a number of clubs and we have given him the time to decide.
“It is going to be entirely his decision. We tend to try and steer our players in certain directions, but at the end of the day it’s the player’s decision. I know he is going to make a decision early next week.
“He is a super guy and a great football player and he wants to play, there has been a lot of interest but we have clearly decided to close the door to further clubs at this stage and let him choose.”
Everton and Napoli have been strongly linked with the player in recent months, with reports last week suggesting that Lille rejected a €20m bid from Everton due to a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ with the Italian side, the Liverpool Echo now reporting the Blues have ended their pursuit of the youngster.
Napoli – who have already secured the signing of forward Victor Osimhen from Lille earlier this summer – are reportedly set to face competition from both Arsenal and Manchester United, and when asked if there were three clubs interested in Magalhaes, Lopez added: “Yeah that would be about right.
“There have been two other clubs who have shown up over the past few weeks who were a bit late to the party, to be honest.
“He is a great kid and that is one of the most important things. He didn’t have an easy start with us given the fact that the coach at the time didn’t trust him because of his age.”