Why Wolves should go all out to sign Lille defender Gabriel in January
Last month, the Daily Mail had claimed that Wolves were interested in signing Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes during the January transfer window.
Known simply as Gabriel, the Brazilian defender, 22, has been ever-present for Lille in both Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season, forming a solid partnership with Jose Fonte at the back. He has made 23 appearances across all competitions so far this campaign.
Wolves, meanwhile, are crying out for an addition in the backline as two central midfielders, Romain Saiss and Leander Dendoncker, have majorly played as central defenders this season.
Willy Boly has undergone surgery on a broken ankle and will be back in February. Boly’s untimely injury has disrupted Nuno Espirito Santo’s system, with the Wanderers looking frail at the back at times.
Conor Coady has been a permanent fixture at the back but his form has wavered throughout the campaign, while loan signing Jesus Vallejo has looked very shaky in central defence and has made only two Premier League appearances.
Thus, the need for a new central defender has become more pressing in recent weeks and Wolves must go all out for Gabriel, who has been scouted by the Molineux chiefs earlier this season. (h/t Daily Mail)
Gabriel is clearly an exciting young defender and has proven himself in Ligue 1 this term. He has also picked up valuable experience on Europe’s biggest stage by featuring six times in the Champions League. The left-footed centre-half stands at 6ft 3in tall, making him a good physical presence.
As per WhoScored, the Brazilian has averaged 1.6 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 3.5 clearances and 0.8 blocks in the Ligue 1. He has a pass success rate of 81.3%, with 61.4 average passes made and 3.8 long balls delivered.
Being a ball-playing centre-half, there’s clear room for improvement in Gabriel’s passing and Nuno could be the ideal manager to help him.
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Gabriel is unproven in England but he could be a shrewd signing, particularly because he can play in Nuno’s back-three system. At the age of 22, the Sao Paulo-born defender is still not a complete defender and has a lot to work on if he is to reach his true potential. However, he has the qualities to make an instant impact at the Molineux.
Wolves desperately need reinforcements at the back, and if they can get a promising young defender like Gabriel, who has Champions League experience under his belt, it would be a shrewd move.