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Manchester United to miss out on Gabriel

Arsenal close in on the defender

Lille OSC vs Anderlecht - Friendly Match
He’s no Phil Jones
Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

The Sun reports that Manchester United are set to miss out on Lille defender Gabriel.

Arsenal had been expected to sign the 22-year-old Brazilian after agreeing terms with the French club last week, but the deal has yet to be completed.

Late last week there was speculation that United would make a late bid to sign the player, with Harry Maguire’s arrest also complicating the picture for United’s provisions in central defender.

Maguire was an underwhelming if competent presence at the back for United for much of last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the Norwegian manager is supposedly keen to add more options at the back to partner the England international and United’s current captain.

Victor Lindelof was also relatively disappointing for much of the season despite having what is probably his best year for the club yet, and United have few compelling options to rely on at the club in place of those two.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe are not yet proven at top level and may never be, while Phil Jones is rumoured to be on the transfer list after barely featuring for the first team in 2019/20.

One possibility is that Chris Smalling may be kept at the club next season after an acceptable season for Roma last season on loan. The clubs could not agree an extension for him to continue for the Italian side for their Europa League fixtures.

Roma could be challenged by Inter Milan for Smalling’s signature, though United are said to want around £20 million for the former England international. Because of the economic impact of coronavirus that might prove to be too high an asking price.

Gabriel looks set to join Arsenal instead despite being available for around £25 million, only a little more than United wish to recoup should Smalling depart.