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Everton Hoping To Seal A £30m Move For This Ligue 1 Defender: What Will He Add To Ancelotti’s Team?

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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 manager Carlo Ancelotti is planning to make LOSC Lille’s Gabriel Magalhães his first signing of the summer transfer window. It is understood that the Toffees have identified the Brazilian defender as an ideal candidate to improve their defence and are working on sealing a £30m deal to bring the player to Merseyside before the start of the new campaign (via The Daily Mirror).

Gabriel’s Magnificent Spell In The French First Division

The Brazilian centre-back has enjoyed a decent run of form at Lille this season after finding a level of consistency with his performances at the heart of Christophe Galtier’s defence. He has played in 34 matches for the Ligue 1 giants this term and has averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.3 clearances per 90 minutes across all competitions. The numbers shed some light on how influential he has been for Lille on the defensive end of the pitch (stats via whoscored).

Gabriel has also featured for Brazil at the under-20 level but is yet to secure his first senior cap for his country. Maybe, a summer move to Goodison Park could give him the ideal platform to prove his worth at the highest level so that he can capture the attention of Brazil manager Tite in the coming years.

The 22-year-old had already earned a wealth of experience playing for clubs like Avai, Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb II before he broke out as a first-team starter at the Stade Pierre Mauroy last season. However, there is no hiding from the fact that he is still untested at the top level, so it remains to be seen whether he will be able to cope with the physical nature of Premier League football if he ends up making a move to Merseyside.

Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes (R) fights for the ball with Montpellier’s French forward Gaetan Laborde during the French L1 football match between Lille OSC (LOSC) and Montpellier Herault Sport Club (MHSC) at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, on December 13, 2019. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Brazilian Defensive Ace Add To Ancelotti’s Side?

Gabriel is primarily a centre-half but can also fill in as a defensive midfielder if required. He is not afraid to go in for a few challenges so that he can win possession back for his team. However, what makes him such an irreplaceable player of Galtier’s starting XI is his ability to quickly scan the danger and nip them in the bud by making some vital last-gasp clearances at the back. The Brazilian centre-back is also quite tidy when passing the ball out from his own half as evidenced by his pass success rate of 82.2% in the Ligue 1 this season (stats via whoscored).

The Toffees can benefit from acquiring a quality defender like Gabriel in the off-season as he will increase competition for places within Ancelotti’s squad. The Italian tactician currently has Yerry Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate at his disposal. To his credit, Ancelotti has done well to get the best out of them since being named as the new Everton boss back in December.

However, the Merseyside outfit needs to strengthen their backline this summer if they are to challenge for a European place next season. So a defender of Gabriel’s skillset will be a welcome addition to the Toffees squad as he will give Ancelotti the freedom to be more experimental with his tactics next season. The Italian boss has generally opted to play with a four-man backline, so Gabriel could offer him the option to play with three defenders at the back if required.

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