English Premiership

Arsenal closing in on Lille defender

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Gabriel Magalhaes (Getty Images)
Gabriel Magalhaes (Getty Images)

Arsenal are waiting on Gabriel Magalhaes to make a decision about his next move having made an offer for the Lille defender.

The 22-year-old has become sought after since the transfer window opened, and the PA news agency understands Arsenal have made an official approach to sign the Brazil Under-20 international.

Magalhaes, who has also been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Napoli, looks set to leave Stade Pierre-Mauroy having played in 24 of Lille's 28 matches in a curtailed 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign.

It remains to be seen if he will end up at the Emirates Stadium, following the path of Nicolas Pepe who left for the Gunners in a club-record deal last summer, although Lille president Gerard Lopez confirmed at the weekend the defender was expected to depart.

"He is one of the players that we allowed to exit the club this summer, he asked for it and wants to try something else," Lopez told Sky Sports News.

"We clearly told him what our expectations were, we spoke to a number of clubs, our expectations were met by a number of clubs and we have given him the time to decide.

"It is going to be entirely his decision. We tend to try and steer our players in certain directions, but at the end of the day it's the player's decision.

"I know he is going to make a decision early next week."

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta stressed towards the end of the season that he was keen to add to his defence, mainly due to the number of injuries in that area of the pitch.

Arteta has plenty of options at his disposal with William Saliba now linking up with the first team following a loan spell at St Etienne.

As well as Saliba, Arteta can also call upon David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari when all are fit and available.

Signing a defender was a priority for Arteta and technical director Edu, as was tying captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang down to a new contract.

The 31-year-old's current deal expires next summer but it is believed that an agreement has been reached and an extension could be announced later this week.

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