Gabriel Magalhaes agent sets ‘transfer deadline’ as Arsenal chase Lille star

Although Gabriel Magalhaes is certain to leave Lille, he might not join Arsenal.

The 22-year-old is ready to leave Ligue 1 after helping Christophe Galtier’s side to a fourth-place finish – and his future was confirmed by club president Gerard Lopez last week.

Gabriel and his family have offered plenty of hints that suggest he wants to move to the Emirates rather than anywhere else during the summer transfer window, but the move could hit a stumbling block.

Napoli had eyed up the central defender as a potential replacement for the highly-rated Kalidou Koulibaly, but they are waiting to see if their star centre-back leaves before they make a concrete move for Gabriel.

Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport have now reported that Gabriel entered into a ‘moral agreement’ with Napoli earlier in the summer, and that he had been waiting for Gennaro Gattuso’s side to match his valuation of £23m.

They add that Arsenal are in turn willing to pay £27m to put themselves in pole position, but that will only be considered if Napoli miss a two week deadline set by Gabriel's agent.

That waiting period could force the Gunners to search for other targets considering that they take on Liverpool in the community shield as close as August 29.

Mikel Arteta has been open about his desire to make signings this summer, but admitted that his side will not be breaking the bank.

The Spaniard said in June: “We have to put a plan [in place] to improve our squad, that’s first, fulfil the ambitions that we have, have the right players to support the talented young players that we have.

“They are still in the very early stages of their development and we have to know that, but we don’t have time.

“The demands of this football club are huge and we cannot stay still. We have to change things, we have to improve them.

“The most important thing is not about keeping [players], it is about improving them, convince them of what we are trying to do and get them performing and winning football matches.”

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Before adding: “There is a lot of uncertainty in how the transfer market is going to look.

“You hear very different things and people are going to go all in, clubs are already spending a lot of money and others may be much more conservative and wait to assess the situation before they move.

“Our position at the moment is that we have to see and be cautious. Our ambition is still intact and I know from the owners that their ambition is still intact as well.

“We will try and do our best to improve the squad, maintain the players we want to maintain and move forward."

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