Everton Face Stiff Competition In Pursuit Of Ligue 1 Centre-Back: What Will He Bring To Merseyside?

Manchester United trailing Arsenal in the race to land Gabriel who is in action in the photo
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 a recent report by The Daily Mirror, Everton are facing stiff competition in pursuit of LOSC Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes this summer. The same source has also revealed that the Toffees were once the clear favourites to land the Brazilian defender, but are now facing a battle with Manchester United, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli for the player’s signature during the summer transfer window.

Gabriel’s Incredible Form At Lille Last Season

The Sao Paulo-born defender managed to earn regular first-team opportunities at Stade Pierre Mauroy last season. He established himself as a top performer at the centre of Christophe Galtier’s defence on his way to making 34 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit while finding the back of the net once on all fronts.

More importantly, Gabriel has been a rock at the back for Lille after averaging 1.8 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 3.3 clearances per 90 minutes in the Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League this season. He has also been neat and tidy with his ball-distribution as evident from his pass completion rate of 82.2% in league football (stats via whoscored).

The 22-year-old has played for Brazil at the Under-20 level, but is yet to represent his country at the senior stage. Maybe a high-profile move to Goodison Park this summer could offer him a more prominent platform to prove his worth and catch the attention of Brazil boss Tite ahead of next summer’s Copa America.

Everton face stiff competition in pursuit of Gabriel Magalhaes who is defending in the photo
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar (L) vies with Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel dos Santos Magalhaes during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lille (LOSC) on November 22, 2019, at the Parc des Princes in Paris. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Ligue 1 Youngster Bring To Goodison Park?

Gabriel can sense the danger quickly and is not afraid to get stuck in with a few tackles to earn possession back for his team. He can even make some vital last-gasp clearances at the back which makes him such a dominant force inside his penalty area. The Brazilian sensation can make full use of his remarkable upper body strength to overpower the opposition and can organise his own backline well to maintain a good defensive shape.

However, the jury is still out on whether he can make a smooth transition to Premier League football if the Toffees can win the race for his signature this summer. A defender of Gabriel’s potential will undeniably be a significant coup for the Merseyside club ahead of the new season. He will not only raise the overall quality of Carlo Ancelotti’s first-team, but also add more bite and steel to his defence at Goodison Park.

Gabriel ticks all the right boxes in terms of what Ancelotti demands from his centre-backs, so he could end up being an intelligent signing for the Toffees if they can lure him to the north-west of England in this off-season. At 22, the Brazilian centre-half has his peak years ahead of him which Everton could look to capitalise on in the coming seasons.

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.