Arsenal are finally set to complete the signing of highly rated Lille defender, Gabriel Magalhaes .
The Gunners have been locked in talks with the 22-year-old defender having agreed a fee, believed to be around £25 million ($33m), with Lille last week.
Napoli and Everton have also been pushing hard for the Brazilian and also had bids accepted by the Ligue 1 side, while Manchester United sounded out Gabriel’s representatives at the end of last week to explore the possibility of a late move.
But Arsenal have always remained confident of getting a deal for their top defensive target over the line and now expect to finalise the transfer in the coming days after a breakthrough in talks over the weekend. Gabriel is now due to travel to England to put the finishing touches on a five-year deal.
The process of completing the transfer will be complicated, however, by the fact Gabriel will need to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival from France – one of the countries from which anyone travelling to the UK has to self isolate for 14 days.
Arsenal will follow Government rules at all times while finalising the deal, with top level sportsmen and women having to adhere to the same strict guidelines as anyone else when arriving in the United Kingdom.
Once signed, the centre-back will become the north London club’s second capture of the summer window, following on from the addition of fellow Brazilian Willian, who joined on a free transfer from Chelsea.
Gabriel’s arrival will be a major boost to Mikel Arteta, who has viewed the singing of a left-footed centre-back as a priority this summer.
He will join William Saliba at Emirates Stadium, who has already started pre-season training following his season-long loan at Saint-Etienne during the 2019-20 campaign.
In Gabriel and Saliba, Arsenal believe they have now secured two of the most promising young defenders in Europe as they look to give Arteta a squad capable of competing for a top four spot in the Premier League next season.
Attention will now turn to moving some defenders on as Arteta now has eight centre-backs in his squad, with Gabriel and Saliba joined by David Luiz, Rob Holding, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari.
Chambers, Sokratis and Mari, who signed a four-year contract in June after an initial loan spell from Corinthians, are all injured and will miss the start of the new campaign.
But Fulham are still believed to be interested in Chambers, who impressed during a loan spell at Craven Cottage in 2018-19, while Mustafi would be allowed to leave should a suitable offer arrive.
He and Sokratis have just one year left on their current deals and Arsenal are open to offers for both. Napoli are credited with having a strong interest in the Greek centre-back, who made just two brief substitute appearances for Arsenal in their 13 games following football’s restart in March.