Gabriel Magalhaes to Arsenal clue as transfer rivals in talks with Gunners ace

Arsenal want to offload a number of defenders to raise funds for Gabriel Magalhaes – and Napoli are looking to swoop for a Gunners ace if they miss out on the Lille centre-back. Mikel Arteta is eager to strengthen his defence ahead of his first full campaign in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal bosses are on the brink of fulfilling his wish by landing Magalhaes from Lille after agreeing a £27million deal.

Manchester United and Napoli have been attempting to win the race but the 22-year-old has already undergone a medical with the Gunners.

The successful conclusion of the deal would leave Arsenal with eight central defenders on their books so departures are required.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been earmarked for sale after entering the final year of his contract.

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And a move to Napoli could be on the cards as the Serie A outfit look at options further down their shortlist.

According to Italian football journalist Nicolo Schira, Napoli have opened talks with Papastathopoulos, who wants a three-year deal.

Arsenal would not expect a big fee but offloading the Greece international would go some way to helping refill the coffers and creating space in Arteta’s squad.

A move to Napoli would allow Papastathopoulos to link up with countryman and fellow centre-back Kostas Manolas.

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The fact the Italian outfit have turned their attention to the 32-year-old indicates they have given up on Magalhaes.

The rising star could form part of a youthful pairing at Arsenal with William Saliba in a new-look defence if he signs on the dotted line.

Saliba, 19, completed a switch to Arsenal last summer but spent the campaign on loan with former club Saint-Etienne.

Arsenal are also looking to offload Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers while Rob Holding could leave.

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