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Lille president confirms Gabriel close to transfer, plays coy on identity of team — report

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Nothing’s done ... yet

FBL-EUR-C1-CHELSEA-LILLE Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Lille center back Gabriel Magalhães appears close to securing a big money move to the Premier League, with his current team’s president, Gerard Lopez all but confirming that a deal is set to be agreed for the defensive machine.

Lopez was unfortunately not forthcoming enough in his exclusive interview with Sky Sports to reveal the identity of the buyer, but all signs seem to be pointing in Everton’s direction, rather than Chelsea’s or anyone else’s.

“It’s true that he would like to go and try something else out. We haven’t taken that decision yet, but he’s received a number of offers. I feel he’s closer to one club than others, but nothing’s done yet so we’ll see.”

“I wouldn’t want to say any more as I respect the player too much [...] he’s been linked to two clubs in the UK and he’s clearly been linked to other clubs that have either enquired or moved forward with proposals for him. But we’re not in a hurry and we’re not playing right now. The player isn’t on the pitch.”

One thing’s for sure, Lille will squeeze out every last penny from the deal, just as they had done in the past with the likes of Michael Essien, Eden Hazard, or Nicolas Pepe.

“The mechanism I have in place, and we saw that work so well with Nico [Nicolas Pepe], is that I have a certain price in mind for a player, and at the end of the day it’s the player’s choice to go and play where he wants to play — that’s the respect that I have for them.”

Lopez is also certain that the 22-year-old defender is on the cusp of greatness ... though obviously opinions may differ and it behooves the Lille president to build up the hype for the kid.

”I feel he is among the top five dominant central defenders in Europe right now. His statistics, which aren’t well covered outside of France, shows that his percentage for winning duels is pretty unheard of in a league that’s extremely physical.

”He’s an absolute machine, so to me, he’s well on his way — if not this year — to potentially a really big club. I’m certain he’s on his way to the Brazilian national team at some point.”

-Gerard Lopez; source: Sky

All that said, Lille don’t expect confirmation either way until we’re past the worst of the coronavirus crisis, and we can start thinking about football’s return.