United make late move to hijack Arsenal deal for defender Gabriel
centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes has delayed making a decision on his future and expects Manchester United to make a late bid to land him in a £22.6 million deal.
Arsenal have led the race for the Brazilian, 22, and have an agreement in place for him to move to the Emirates Stadium, although Napoli have also targeted him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, is in the market for a centre-back to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of his defence next season and Gabriel has emerged as a low-risk option for Premier League clubs, given his asking price and experience in the Champions League with Lille.
While Arsenal remain in pole position, the deal had not been finalised when the potential move to United emerged. Solskjaer secured a top-four finish and will be playing in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Gabriel has been the subject of interest from clubs since Ligue 1 was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Everton the first club to make a move and put a deal in place. Napoli have always been in the running for the player, who arrived from Brazilian club Avai three years ago and had loans at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb.
Arsenal were on the brink of landing him this week but the delay means United can enter the race. Solskjaer has made Maguire his captain at Old Trafford but wants competition for Victor Lindelof, who has partnered the England centre-back for most of the season.
United also have Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe, but Marcos Rojo can leave for the right price and Phil Jones has struggled with injuries.