Lille's Brazilian defender Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes (L) fights for the ball with Lyon's French forward Moussa Dembele during the French League Cup semifinal football match between Olympique Lyonnais and Lille LOSC at the Groupama stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central eastern France on January 21, 2020. (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Le10Sport, Arsenal are ready to battle it out with Everton in the pursuit of Gabriel Magalhaes. The LOSC Lille defender is being monitored by these two Premier League giants, though Leicester City have now also joined the race. Magalhaes could spark a bidding war in the summer, with Arsenal, in particular, keen on bolstering their defensive unit.

Who is Gabriel Magalhaes?

Magalhaes has been a part of the LOSC Lille setup since January 2017. And after spending loan spells at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb, the centre half seems to have finally made his breakthrough in the first-team this season. Indeed, he has been an ever-present figure in the Lille backline, making 21 league appearances.

Magalhaes has built a solid defensive partnership alongside veteran Jose Fonte. As a result, the French outfit are currently fourth in the league table.

Individually, Magalhaes has impressed the onlookers with his strong aerial and physical presence at the back, mostly thanks to his tall 1.90m frame. Indeed, the Brazilian has won 3.4 aerial duels per game this season with a success rate of 65%. His tally of 1.8 tackles per game with an incredible success rate of 83% is also quite impressive.

Moreover, the ex-Aval starlet is a gifted passer of the ball. He can distribute possession from the back, having completed 1293 passes this season with a completion rate of 82%. But at the same time, the Brazilian can also remain dogged at the back, notably averaging 3.4 clearances per game.

Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Willian (L) vies with Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes during the UEFA Champion’s League Group H football match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge in London on December 10, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP via Getty Images)

Should Arsenal make a move for Magalhaes?

Magalhaes’ ability to spread the play quickly without dwelling on the ball for too long makes him an upgrade over Sokratis. Even though the Greek international has attained a high pass accuracy of 87%, his inability to find players in between the lines often weakens Arsenal’s build-up play.

Aside from that, Magalhaes would also make the Arsenal defence much more vigilant with his tackling prowess, which is combined with his dominance in the air. And given how the likes of David Luiz and Sokratis have struggled this season, the Brazilian will undoubtedly be able to offer Mikel Arteta with a viable alternative next season.

Having said that, a lot could depend on how new signing Pablo Mari fares this season. Not to mention, Shkodran Mustafi has enjoyed a lot of success under Arteta, and it won’t be surprising to see him remain at the Emirates beyond the summer. This could further complicate things as Arsenal would at least have to offload one defender to make way for Magalhaes.

Therefore, the Gunners need to show a bit more patience, as far as their pursuit of this Lille defender is concerned. They should first capitalise on their performances during the remainder of the campaign, though in the meantime, they should continue to keep an eye on Magalhaes, who looks like a real defensive gem at the moment.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.