Manchester United have attempted to hijack Arsenal’s move for coveted Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes.
Gabriel enjoyed a fruitful 2019/20 campaign, making 34 appearances and helping Les Dogues secure a fourth-placed finish in Ligue 1.
The Brazilian has long been attracting interest from across Europe, and Lille president Gerard Lopez has already confirmed he will be departing the club this summer. Amid the flurry of speculation that greeted this revelation, was informed earlier this week that the Gunners had won the race for his signature.
However, according to Gianluca di Marzio, United remain in the hunt. The Red Devils are said to have tabled a rival bid for the defender, who has asked for 48 hours to mull over his options. United spent a world-record fee on fellow centre-back Harry Maguire last summer but question marks continue to be raised about his defensive partner Victor Lindelof.
As well as having two Premier League offers, Gabriel is also subject to interest from Champions League finalists Paris-Saint Germain. Napoli are also hoping to convince him to shun a move to England and join them. He would likely be replacing star man Kalidou Koulibaly, who seems set on a move to Manchester City in the near future. This lines up with what a source told on Thursday, citing late interest from United ‘and a few others’.
Despite this late surge of competition, Arsenal remain the favourites to secure a deal and technical director Edu is understood to have been key in negotiations. Former head of football Raul Sanllehi wanted to put the breaks on, with the former Gunners player being forced to push for the deal.
The fee involved is believed to be just over £20m – which appears to represent excellent value for the Gunners. Arsenal will be hoping that he helps them improve their defensive record, which was the second worst in the Premier League top nine last season.