Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta keen on star who is ‘high up’ on Gunners’ scouting reports
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is keen to sign Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who has performed well on the club’s scouting reports having long been tracked by the Gunners. That’s according to David Ornstein.
The north Londoners want to strengthen the centre of their defence after leaking 48 goals in 38 Premier League games on their way to finishing eighth in 2019-20.
Though Arteta has a host of centre-half options already, he wants an upgrade on them and Gabriel has been earmarked as a target.
The 22-year-old, who could cost up to £30million, has impressed for Lille in Ligue 1 and boasts the type of frame and profile that could set him up to succeed in England.
And according to Ornstein, Manchester United and Everton-linked Gabriel has long been admired by Arsenal scouts.
Doing a deal for the Brazilian defender will not be easy for a cash-strapped Arsenal team however though, with money tight for Arteta before players are sold.
But having structured a £72m deal with Lille to sign Nicolas Pepe a year ago, Arsenal will hope to engineer a similar agreement for Gabriel.
“Gabriel is a player who has attracted interest from so many clubs,” Ornstein told the Tifo Podcast’s Ask Ornstein show.
“Before recording this I saw a report that Napoli are set to sign him.
“Manchester United and Everton have had interest and Arsenal’s interest is credible, they do like him a lot and he’s been high up on their scouting reports for a long time now.
“It would be a deal potentially that Mikel Arteta would like to do to bolster Arsenal’s defence, central defence is a position we know he’s looking to improve on.
“But I don’t know the status of that move, it won’t be an easy one financially and with the competition.
“I’m sure Arsenal would be attractive to him but I can’t give you any answers on that I’m afraid.”
Ornstein added of Arsenal’s other potential business: “Thomas Partey, we know he’s been Arsenal’s main target for the central midfield role this summer.
“He’s been on their radar for a number of years and I don’t think it would be a case of whether he wants to come.
“It’s whether Arsenal can strike the deal. It’s very simple from Atletico Madrid’s perspective, he’s got a €50m release clause, if Arsenal or anybody else pays it, then it’s up to him what he wants to do.
“I don’t think they’ll accept anything less than the release clause.
“I think Arsenal and people on their behalf have suggested swaps with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Alexandre Lacazette, but Atletico have been very clear that they want the release clause paid.
“It’s not as straightforward as some may think because Arsenal will have to pay the release clause in one go, as is the case in Spain, and that will also have tax on top of it which will add a few more million euros.
“And Thomas Partey will command a very high salary, I’m told in excess of £200,000 a week, so they’ll hope to get that deal done but it’s not easy at all.
“[Philippe] Coutinho, we know that Arsenal have been offered Coutinho in the past and quite possibly recently but we also don’t know how this window will develop.
“Things can change at any moment but as things stand, it’s not a player they are pursuing.”