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Transfer Rumor: Arsenal linked with another Ligue 1 centerback in Lille’s Gabriel

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Could the Brazilian be following the way of William Saliba?

Ajax Amsterdam v Lille LOSC - UEFA Champions League Group H Photo by Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Anyone reading this will be familiar with Arsenal’s search for their future centerback pairing. And anyone who has been frequenting the site will be aware of the growing laundry list of CBs that the Gunners have been linked with recently. Chris Richards, from Bayern Munich, Evan N’Dicka, from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Issa Diop, from West Ham, have all been looked at in recent weeks - and there are already more to come in the days and weeks ahead.

So it should come to know surprise that there is an emerging young centerback who had a solid season before the halt and is now linked with a move to a bigger club. Likewise it will be no surprise that Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are one of those rumored landing spots. Meet Brazilian Gabriel Magalhães from Lille.

The Report

According to sources as ESPN, a trio of Premier League clubs - Arsenal, Everton & Chelsea - are all interested in signing Gabriel this summer. This past season was his first true break out campaign, finally starting in Ligue 1 and getting time in the Champions League. The report indicates that Lille will only accept $30 million, a figure Everton may have been willing to spend pre-COVID-19, but more on that later.

The Player

Club History: He began at Avaí FC in Brazil before joining Lille in January of 2017. He then went out on loan to French side Troyes and another loan spell at GNK Dinamo Zagreb II in the second tier of Croatian football.

Experience: 38 appearances in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons, including two goals, and six matches in the UEFA Champions League.

International Level: A handful of appearances for the U-20 Brazilian team during the 2017 South American U-20 Championship.

Position(s): Centerback.

Contract Situation: Under contract with Lille through June 2023.

Projected Value: $19 million.

The Arsenal Situation

If we assume that the club signs Pablo Mari on a permanent deal this summer, then Arsenal will have eight center backs on contract heading into whenever the 2020/21 season kicks off. That’s way too many and a sizable portion of that group most likely does not fall into Arteta or Edu’s ideal depth chart.

From the elder trio of Sokratis, David Luiz, and Shkodran Mustafi it’s hard to imagine more them being around after next season. Of the younger trio of Calum Chambers, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding the same likely applies. That one, being Holding at the current rate. Which leaves Mari, whom this leadership group went after, and the arrival of William Saliba.

Do Arsenal need new centerbacks? Yes. Will the club likely bring in two or three new faces at the position over the next few windows? Very likely. It all comes down to who they want to get rid of, when, and how feasible those moves are.

The Outlook

Possible. Far more than prying away a prospect like Chris Richards from Bayern Munich. And more likely than paying $10-15 million more for Issa Diop coming from a fellow Premier League team. Gabriel fits right into the section of Arsenal’s transfer likelihood as Eintracht Frankfurt’s Evan N’Dicka.

It’s hard to imagine Arsenal not signing a new CB this summer, and seeing two exit, but they are not alone in chasing any of these or unnamed targets. If Lille find themselves in need of cash once leagues return they may be willing to part with Gabriel for closer to $20 million, which will then put all the suitors in contention and come down to the player’s preference and what level of wages they can offer in the new transfer market world. Moving on someone like £125,673 per week David Luiz sure would help.