Everton are increasingly confident that they will win the race to sign the Lille centre back Gabriel Magalhaes in the next transfer window despite interest from both Chelsea and Arsenal.
The Merseysiders are expected to open formal talks at the beginning of the transfer window with the Ligue 1 side, who are resigned to losing their highly-rated Brazilian.
Lille, who were twice defeated by Chelsea in the Champions League group stages, will accept an offer of about €30 million for the 22-year-old who has made impressive strides this season under head coach Christophe Galtier.
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Chelsea and Arsenal have both been impressed by Gabriel’s performances in Ligue 1 and on the European stage but Carlo Ancelotti appears especially keen to make the defender his first signing at Goodison Park.
Both London sides have also had scouts watch young Stoke and Ireland defender Nathan Collins, although neither are considering centre back to be their No1 transfer priority in the next window.
Chelsea during the break
Chelsea have four senior centre halves in their squad and Frank Lampard has rotated them throughout this interrupted season.
Antonio Rudiger has become first-choice since recovering from a long-term injury, while Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori have all experienced highs and lows throughout a mixed campaign.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are well-stocked in that department with eight players capable of playing in that position currently set to be in next season’s squad, although Sokratis, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi will all be entering the final year of their respective deals on July 1.