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Who is Everton target Gabriel Magalhaes?

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Everton have made an offer for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, but is he suited to the Premier League? By Nick Grounds

Last Updated: 26/03/20 6:58pm

Everton have made an offer for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes

Everton have joined the race to sign promising Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. Ahead of a proposed transfer, Nick Grounds explains why the defender is so highly sought after.

Another unnamed English club and two Italian sides have reportedly had offers accepted and the Brazilian is expected to choose his next destination in the next 10 days.

Gabriel joined Lille from Brazilian side Avai for just £1.5m three years ago and has featured in the Champions League - playing twice against Chelsea in this season's group stages.

Promising centre-halves are a rare breed, let alone left-sided ones. At 22 years old, Gabriel is far from the finished article, but both Leicester and Arsenal were reportedly interested in January, while to have Italian suitors proves there is a quality defender in there.

Gabriel has spent brief loans with Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb Factfile

Age: 22

Position: Centre-back

Club: Lille

Nationality: Brazilian

International caps: None - capped at Brazil U20 level

Background Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes has attracted interest from Everton

Gabriel started his career at Avai, a Brazilian side who currently play in the second tier of Brazilian football.

After 21 appearances he made the move to Europe in January 2017, signing for Ligue 1 side Lille for a fairly modest fee of £1.5m.

Gabriel initially struggled to adapt to senior football at Lille and went out on loan twice. First to Troyes, where he spent the first half of the 2017/18 season, before a temporary move to Dynamo Zagreb in January 2018.

First-team opportunities continued to evade him, moving between the reserve and senior sides before returning to Lille for the start of the 2018/19 season.

Will he adapt quickly to the Premier League? Gabriel's Ligue 1 touchmap shows he is a predominately left-sided centre-half

Gabriel took his time to cement himself in the side, not starting a Ligue 1 game until February 2019. But he has not looked back since; forging a relatively successful partnership with former Southampton player Jose Fonte at centre-back.

After a seven-year absence, Gabriel helped Lille qualify for the Champions League in 2018/19, finishing second in Ligue 1 to PSG.

Gabriel has continued his ascent this season, with a string of impressive performances both domestically and in the Champions League.

What are his key attributes? Born in Sao Paulo, Gabriel's showcased his passing ability this season

Although Lille finished bottom of Group H, they faced Valencia, Chelsea and last season's semi-finalists Ajax. Starting all six group games, performances have alerted some of Europe's biggest clubs.

No Lille player has attempted more forward passes this season (578), while only his defensive partner Jose Fonte has completed more passes than Gabriel's 1220.

A team-high 243 of those were completed as long passes into the opposition half, meaning he would fit in well with Everton's focus on carrying out quick transitions under Ancelotti.

Only PSG's Thiago Silva has completed more long passes than Gabriel

The Brazilian scored in Lille's 2-1 win at Strasbourg in February, and he has been an aerial threat at set-pieces throughout the campaign. Only five centre-backs have had more attempts on goal than the Everton target (17).

Lille currently lie fourth in Ligue 1, one point off Rennes who occupy the final Champions League spot. Should Lille secure a passage to Europe's premier club competition for a second successive season, it will be in no small part down to their talented young Brazilian. Even if it transpires to be a parting gift.

Did you know? Gabriel celebrates a win but he could soon be heading for the Premier League

Lille decreased their goals conceded per match in the French Ligue 1 after February 3, 2020. From December 5, 2019, to February 3, 2020, they were at 1.67 goals conceded per match.

Since then, they are at 0.33 goals conceded per match. Gabriel played in all but one of those six matches, with Lille's only defeat in that time - a 2-1 loss to Marseille - the game he missed.




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