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Who is Gabriel Magalhaes? Manchester United’s recent transfer rumour from France

Fabrizio Romano confirms that United have confirmed a deal worth £27m initial fee with add-ons expected to rise to £36m with the French club Lille for Gabriel Magalhaes. Romano also confirms that the personal terms with the player is only thing left.

Reports from France have been emerging that Manchester United have made a bid for the 22-year-old from Brazil. Solskjaer to have missed out on some of his transfer market options for a left-footed center-back (case in point being Nathan Ake) and given Eric Bailly’s and Axel Tuanzebe’s unreliable status it makes sense that Manchester United have decided to dive into the five club race for this defender. Gabriel Magalhaes is a left-footed center-back from Lille.

But why is a defender with only 30 league appearances and 6 European appearances rated so highly by most big clubs around the world? Let’s have a look at the specifics of Gabriel Magalhaes’s strengths and what he can offer to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

A rock hard centre back

The Brazilian isn’t blisteringly quick but he controls space well and that enables him to handle even the most nimble of wingers. At 6ft 3, Magalhaes has a physical presence as a center-back, he uses his strength to hold off the attacker and subsequently clear the ball away from his box. Gabriel has an excellent sense of tactical awareness and is always well placed to cut out through balls from the opposition, with 3.3 clearances per game in Ligue 1, it shows Magalhaes a has a no-nonsense side to his game. Furthermore, he’s an able tackler and uses his physicality well to shield the ball.

Attacking dimensions of Gabriel Magalhaes

He has been heavily involved in Lille’s build-up play this season, averaging 64 passes per 90 and finding a team-mate with 82 percent. However, unlike some, he isn’t just playing simple five-yard passes to midfielders. Gabriel has the capabilities and hence acts as a deep-lying playmaker for Lille. Not only does he get the ball into certain areas, but he also weights the passes so well that team-mates are usually able to make the most of them. Averaging a staggering 3.7 long balls per game, the defender is always looking to build up attacks from the back too. He has an immaculate range of passing which helps him start moves going forward from his half with ease and precision, switching play to create space for the wide sided players. 

Versatility is key for Gabriel

The young 22-year-old being left-footed and having a respectful stride of sprint within him can play the LCB ( Left Centre Back ) position with ease and has already done that this season for Losc Lille. Solskjaer’s one of many problems has been lining up a defence with a back three as Luke Shaw has been his only reliable option this season for the LCB position. 

However, with Gabriel’s versatility and ability to play out from the back without fear, there is no doubt that Gabriel will have no problem fitting into the United eleven given Ole chooses to play him. 

With the credibility of the source of this news, Gabriel could be the first player to land at Old Trafford in this transfer window. The Reds made a quick move to sway Gabriel away from Everton, Napoli, and Paris Saint-Germain who were also tracking his progress at Lille. Given his ability on and off the ball, he could be a low-key statement singing everyone wants him to be.

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