Everton are seemingly closing in on a deal to sign Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille this summer. The Guardian is reporting that the Toffees ‘expect’ to make the Brazilian defender Carlo Ancelotti’s first signing when the transfer window opens, with a reported fee of £30 million.
The French side’s president has since admitted to Sky Sports that Gabriel could be on the move, suggesting that he is ‘closer to one club than others’ with many Everton fans believing the Toffees are that club.
If Gabriel were to arrive at Everton and be a success, they would have a former Ronald Koeman to thank for much of his progress.
Gabriel was not always destined for the top at Lille amid some early struggles and disjointed loan spells at Troyes and Dinamo Zagreb.
At the end of his spell in Croatia, he returned to Lille and, at around the same time, the Ligue 1 side brought in former Southampton defender Jose Fonte from Dalian Yifang.
The fellow Portuguese speaker soon helped Gabriel finally settle in France. As reported on the Ligue 1 website this week, Gabriel admitted that Fonte’s arrival was a huge boost to his Lille career.
“As soon as Jose arrived at the club, he spoke to me.
“He encouraged me to work hard, to seize the opportunity that would come my way one day. He’s taught me a lot, on and off the pitch. If I leave Lille one day, if I can, I’ll take him with me! He’s helped me improve a lot.”
Fonte, of course, was a huge player for former Everton boss Ronald Koeman when the Dutchman was in charge at St Mary’s.
It was after a tremendous season under Koeman that Fonte had his defining career moment, helping Portugal win the European Championships in 2016. Indeed, as reported by The Sun in 2016, Koeman wanted to bring Fonte to Goodison Park in a £9 million deal. In the end, Everton signed Ashley Williams from Swansea, a deal which had mixed results.
Now, it seems this former Koeman disciple has helped to shape the career of a brilliant talent Everton are hoping can become the bedrock of their defence for years to come.