Arsenal Win Race for Lille Defender Gabriel Magalhães

Arsenal have successfully fought off interest from Napoli and Everton to sign Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhães.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has long been keen to add a new centre-back to his squad this summer, and Shkodran Mustafi's knee injury has only accelerated their pursuit of the Brazilian, who was first recommended to the club by director Edu.

Arteta was keen for Edu to follow up his interest with a formal bid, but former head of football Raul Sanllehi believed other areas of the squad needed to be prioritised ahead of centre-back, which contributed to his eventual departure from the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Edu took the lead in negotiations, and it has been confirmed to 90min that he managed to convince Gabriel that heading to the Emirates would be the perfect next step for the 22-year-old.

A source close to the deal told 90min: “Edu played a major role in getting Gabriel. People should not forget he has huge respect in Brazil, from his time as head of the national set-up, and if you play for Edu then than that will not go unnoticed back home and it will chances of a senior call-up will be significantly improved.”

The deal, which is worth just over £20m, was signed off on by managing director Vinai Venkatesham, and Gabriel is now on his way to London for a medical. If all goes according to plan, he could put pen to paper on a five-year deal before the weekend.

Arsenal are not blessed with a hefty transfer budget this summer and it is understood that this deal has taken a sizeable chunk out of their allowance, but the Gunners are expecting to raise more than that in player sales this summer to finance other deals.

French midfielder Mattéo Guendouzi is one of those players who could be on his way out, with Arsenal exploring ways to use the 21-year-old's value to their advantage.

Alongside looking to sell Guendouzi outright, his name has found itself in plenty of rumoured swap deals, with Atlético Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lyon's Houssem Aouar both touted as potential targets.

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Source : 90min