Arsenal remain locked in talks with Lille for defender Gabriel Magalhaes, reports say. However, the Gunners have two priorities before firming up their interest and bringing the centre-back to the Emirates. Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his backline, knowing David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi can’t be relied upon for the long term.
Arsenal saw their defence struggle under both Arteta and Unai Emery last season, shipping 48 goals as the club finished eighth in the Premier League table.
And they’re now keen to improve their backline as a result, with the club locked in talks with Lille over a potential deal for Gabriel.
The centre-back has also been linked with Manchester United but it’s Arsenal who are currently leading the race to sign the 22-year-old.
Yet the Independent say that, as things stand, Arsenal have two things they’re currently prioritising.
The first is a bumper new deal for talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon international was a shining light for Arsenal amid a difficult campaign and was the hero of the FA Cup final, scoring a brilliant brace against Chelsea in the final at Wembley.
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Arsenal are confident he’ll sign an extension at the club, despite Barcelona having him as a backup plan for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez.
And a second priority for the Gunners at present has been making sure a deal for Willian goes through.
The Samba star has already said his goodbyes to Chelsea after seven glittering years at Stamford Bridge.
And he’s now poised to join Arsenal on a three-year contract, with Arteta confident the Brazilian can help mentor compatriot Gabriel Martinelli at the Emirates.
Meanwhile, although Arsenal want Lille star Gabriel to be their defensive bedrock for years to come, Ray Parlour thinks they should go after Manchester City’s John Stones.
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Stones is likely to leave the Etihad having fallen down Pep Guardiola’s pecking order this season, with West Ham emerging as admirers.
But Parlour, speaking on talkSPORT, urged Arsenal to go for the City star instead.
“That would be a great deal for West Ham if they could get John Stones for £20million,” he told talkSPORT recently.
“Especially when you look at Nathan Ake who is going to City for £40m.
“Arsenal are desperate for a centre-half, so why don’t they take a chance and try to put in a bid for Stones?
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“He’s had a bad time in recent years and he hasn’t really gone to where City thought he might go to, but you don’t become a bad defender overnight, he just needs a bit of coaching.
“And that’s where it could be key with Arsenal, because obviously Arteta has worked with him over the last few years at Man City.
“But if West Ham could get him for that price it would be a great deal, an absolutely brilliant deal.”
Gabriel and Willian aren’t Arsenal’s only transfer targets for the summer window.
Arteta would also love to bring Thomas Partey to north London, although Atletico Madrid are demanding big money to part ways with the Ghana international.
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