Ring, ring. Ring, ring. The transfer bell is ready to be sounded yet again.
Despite having no actual football to watch – apart from 20-minute montages of Christian Benteke’s biggest misses on YouTube – we appear to have more time than ever to focus on what may go on in the summer transfer window, or whenever the hell it actually happens.
The latest name occupying the internet’s gossip columns is Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, who looks set to become Carlo Ancelotti’s first signing as Everton manager in the upcoming window.
But, other than being an excellent point-scorer in Scrabble, do we actually know anything about the Brazilian?
Well, get ready to change your answer from ‘no’, to ‘a bit’, as we offer up five things to know about Everton’s potential new boy.
What’s His Story?
Well, simply put, Magalhaes is a 6’2 centre-back who plays for Lille in France. The 22-year-old arrived in Europe from his native Brazil in 2016, initially joining Les Dogues before being loaned out to both Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb’s second team.
The defender has represented Brazil’s Under-20 squad four times but is still a long, long, long way off challenging for a place in the senior squad.
Magalhaes has only grown in confidence since returning form his respective loan spells and has now been a fairly important member of Lille’s squad for the last two seasons.
Despite initially finding game time hard to come by after returning to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, the youngster has since established himself as a firm and consistent starter for Lille. The 22-year-old has made 52 appearances for the club in total, 34 of which have come this season.
24 of these have come in Ligue 1, while Magalhaes played the full 90 minutes of all of Lille’s Champions League games this season, although the club failed to win a single match or keep a clean sheet.
Christophe Galtier has entrusted the centre-back with plenty of responsibility this season, seldom resting the Brazilian. However, Magalhaes still has plenty of learning to do and is yet to even make a century of senior appearances over the course of his career.
What He Offers Everton
Well, you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that he will offer Everton some much-needed stability at the heart of their defence, as Ancelotti looks to begin a new era at Goodison Park. Only five teams have conceded more than Everton in the Premier League this season, with the Toffees having let in 46 goals in just 29 games – hardly fitting for a club that consistently aims for European football at the beginning of every season.
Meanwhile, Lille – who currently sit fourth in Ligue 1 – boast the equal-fourth best defensive record in France’s top tier, with Magalhaes himself having kept 11 clean sheets this term so far. The centre-back is young, fast and physical enough to cope with the pace and power of the Premier League.
After impressing in the Champions League against them earlier in the campaign, Chelsea were strongly linked with the Brazilian, however Everton have seemingly persuaded the defender to choose Merseyside ahead of the capital.
He’s also left-footed, which is always a bonus for a centre-back.
How Much Will He Cost?
Everton are confident they have done enough to win the race to sign Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille. Deal will cost more than £25m, a player they have been pursuing for some time
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) April 16, 2020
We are yet to fully understand the ramifications of the coronavirus on the transfer market, but at the moment it seems that Everton will need to fork out more than £25m for the starlet. Yes, that’s a lot of money for someone you may have only heard of three or four minutes ago.
However, it’s fairly clear that the Toffees are paying for potential rather than the finished article, with Lille in particular having previously proved to be an excellent breeding ground for Premier League clubs.
One reason Magalhaes will set Everton back so much is his contract. The defender’s current deal with Lille expires in 2023 as the youngster signed a contract extension in February 2020.
But what do contracts actually mean in modern football, eh?
Would He Start for Everton?
You would think so given that the Merseyside club are seemingly willing to throw so much cash at the defender, especially when you look at the competition he faces at Goodison.
Mason Holgate has been impressive this season but Yerry Mina and Michael Keane have both left a lot to be desired since arriving at the club, and Ancelotti’s patience with the pair may have already run out.
Having said that, he wouldn’t be guaranteed an immediate starting berth due to his lack of experience in the Premier League.
Is He Ready for English Football?
As previously mentioned, Magalhaes has all the necessary attributes to succeed in English football – even if he is a little rough around the edges.
Not only is the defender agile, pacy and strong in the air, he’s more than comfortable playing out from the back. No matter who your manager is in the Premier League – bar maybe Sean Dyche – this is an important skill to possess.
Magalhaes has a good passing range as well as being confident breaking the attacking press by dribbling out from the back. With such height and power, he also poses a significant threat from set-pieces.
So, yes, he probably is ready for a big-money move to the Premier League.