Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Everton Identify This Ligue 1 Defender As A Priority Summer Target: Right Choice For The Toffees?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by The Daily Mirror, Everton have made Lille defender Gabriel Magalhães their number one target for the summer transfer window. The same source has also mentioned that the Toffees are not put off by the Brazilian centre-back’s £30m price tag but can expect to face fierce competition from Arsenal and Leicester City in pursuit of his signature.

Gabriel’s Impressive Form In French Football

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a decent season at Lille so far after putting in some commanding displays at the heart of Christophe Galtier’s backline. He has made 32 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit this term and has scored one goal in all competitions. Gabriel has averaged 1.5 tackles, 1.0 interceptions and 3.4 clearances per 90 minutes in the French top-flight which goes to highlight his importance on the defensive end of the field (stats via whoscored).

The Lille prospect has represented Brazil at the under-20 level but is yet to earn his first senior cap for his nation. Thus, a future move to the Premier League could give him the ideal platform to showcase his talents at the highest level which might be enough to catch the attention of Brazil boss Tite in the coming years.

At such a young age, Gabriel has already managed to earn a lot of playing time for clubs in Brazil, Croatia and France. However, the jury is still out on whether he will be able to cope with the physicality and high intensity of English football.

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)

What Does The Brazilian Defender Offer On The Pitch?

Gabriel is a moderately-paced defender who can also fill in as a defensive midfielder if required. He is not shy about getting stuck in with a few tackles so that he can win the ball back for his side. However, what makes him such an invaluable member of Galtier’s first-team is his ability to read the danger and pull off vital last-ditch clearances at the back. The Brazilian centre-back is also comfortable when playing the ball out from the back as evidenced by his pass accuracy of 82.9% in league football this season (stats via whoscored).

Will Gabriel Be A Good Signing For The Toffees?

Everton will do well to lure him away from Lille this summer, especially if he can continue to perform at his best level over the next few weeks. Carlo Ancelotti currently has Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate fighting for places in his starting XI. Therefore, the Italian tactician needs another quality defender if he wants his side to compete for major trophies in the coming years.

Gabriel will not only add a lot of quality to the Everton backline but will also offer Ancelotti the option to be more flexible with his tactics next season. The Italian head coach has often been forced to play with a four-man backline, so acquiring a quality centre-half like Gabriel will allow him to play with three defenders at the back if needed.

All in all, the Brazilian will be an excellent choice for the Merseyside outfit. Hence, it makes sense for them to orchestrate a move to bring him to Goodison Park before the start of the new campaign.

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