“He is leaving, we’ve given the OK” – Club chief confirms Arsenal target has been cleared for transfer

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Lille owner Gerard Lopez has confirmed that exciting young defender Gabriel Magalhaes will be leaving the club this summer amid transfer rumours linking him with Arsenal and others.

The highly-rated Brazilian centre-back has been superb in Ligue 1, looking one of the most impressive young players in Europe’s top five leagues in his position this season.

It remains to be seen where Gabriel will be heading next, but Lille chief Lopez has made it perfectly clear that the club have cleared him to move on.

MORE: Concern for Arsenal as star man becomes more of a top priority for Euro giants as exit touted

“The way we work is very simple,” Lopez told BBC Sport.

“We explain to him and his environment, his agent, what we are looking for, and once we get those offers the choice is his, like we did with Nico [Pepe] and Victor [Osimhen].

“We are there now, so we told him: ‘Eventually you have to make a decision but we’re not pressing you.’ I think he will make it this week, or next week at the latest. He is leaving, we’ve given the OK for that.

“There’s a lot of competition. He’s a young player so he’s got to make sure he makes the right decision. We help him out a little bit so we tell him: ‘We think this might be the right manager or club for you.’

“He’s got so much talent, he will succeed wherever he goes.”

Arsenal have been linked with the 22-year-old by the Sun, though it’s also been claimed by the Manchester Evening News that he looks set for Napoli.

Arsenal will no doubt hope they can take advantage of Lille’s openness to selling Gabriel, who would surely be a major upgrade on their current crop of unconvincing central defenders.

Mikel Arteta will have another promising youngster, William Saliba, returning from loan at Saint-Etienne, and Gabriel could be a dream partner for him at the back.

Arsenal only finished 8th in 2019/20, so surely need upgrades on the likes of David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

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