Arsenal are now leading the race for €30m defender Gabriel Magalhaes ahead of Napoli, according to reports in France.

Gabriel Magalhães
Gabriel Magalhães

France Bleu report that Arsenal are in position to snatch the signature of Gabriel Magalhaes ahead of Napoli. The Serie A club were in ‘pole position’ for the defender for several weeks, ready to offer €30m for him. The situation changed with Arsenal’s move.

Lille site LePetitLillois claim Arsenal indeed accelerated a deal for Gabriel after qualifying for Europe at the weekend. Napoli and Everton are reportedly still in the race though, as the saga winds up to a conclusion.

Lille president Gerard Lopez told the French media last week that they’d make a decision imminently. He claimed it would only be around a week before they knew his destination.

We theorised at the time that Arsenal’s FA Cup final could play a part, though. If they didn’t win and qualify for the Europa League, the move looked unlikely, cutting Gabriel’s options and speeding up the process of his transfer.

Instead, Arsenal are seemingly firmly in the race. This could explain why the move is taking a bit longer than Lopez predicted. With another club in the mix, it’s obviously less straightforward.

Personally, I think Gabriel would make a good defensive addition to Arsenal. As a left-footed defender, he would cover for Pablo Mari’s absence whilst allowing Kieran Tierney to move back to left-back. He has European experience but is still just 22 years old.

At €30m, it seems like a smart investment.