Lille president provides update on future of ‘absolute machine’ Gabriel amid Everton & Arsenal links

Lille president Gerard Lopez has spoken out over the future of star defender Gabriel Magalhaes, as speculation regarding a potential move to the Premier League continues to mount.

Lille standout

Gabriel, a 22-year-old central-defender, has established himself as one of European football’s most highly-regarded young stoppers over the last couple of seasons.

On the back of a series of loan spells away from Lille, the Brazilian was finally handed the chance to impress as part of the first-team setup at the Stade Pierre Mauroy last season.

And this is an opportunity which Gabriel has since gone on to grasp with both hands, as the gifted stopper’s standout showings at the heart of Lille’s backline over the second-half of the campaign eventually resulted in his permanent introduction to Christophe Galtier’s starting XI from the get-go in 2019/20.

Before the season was curtailed by the COVID-19 outbreak, Gabriel had earned starts in 23 of his side’s 28 Ligue 1 outings, along with all 6 of Les Dogues’ Champions League fixtures.

Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes of Losc Lille during the during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Valencia CF and Losc Lille at Estadio de Mestalla on November 5, 2019 in Valencia, Spain (Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

‘Received a number of offers’

The South American’s impressive displays throughout the campaign, though, have not gone at all unnoticed across Europe.

Recent months have seen a host of clubs, chiefly in the Premier League, named as suitors of Gabriel, with those in England evidently of the opinion that the 22-year-old’s physical attributes would translate well to the all action style of play in the country.

Everton, to this point, have been the side by far most persistently-linked with a swoop for Gabriel, with both Arsenal and Chelsea also thought to be keen.

And, as outlined above, an insight into Gabriel’s potential next move has today been forthcoming.

Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports, Lille president Gerard Lopez confirmed that the club have already received a number of offers for their star stopper.

Crucially, Lopez also added that Gabriel appears to be leaning towards one destination over all others:

‘It’s true that he would like to go and try something else out. 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.’

The Lille chief went on to provide an insight into just how talented a defender he feels Gabriel truly is, labelling the Brazilian an ‘absolute machine’:

‘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.’

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.


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