According to ESPN, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton are battling it out to secure the signature of Lille’s Brazilian defender Gabriel.
The 22-year-old had been enjoying a brilliant season in the top division of French football before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play.
He has attracted attention from around Europe, with three Premier League clubs having thrown their hats into the ring.
ESPN report that Chelsea were the first team to make an approach as, last week, they begun negotiations with Lille sporting director Luis Campos – who has close ties with his Chelsea counterpart Marina Granovskaia.
The report also states that while Chelsea were confident they could get a deal done, Everton have joined the race and now lead the chase for Gabriel’s signature.
Everton have reportedly stumped up the cash first and foremost, offering a fee of £30m for the Brazilian – which is said to be the minimum price Lille would consider.
The French side are now hopeful that Chelsea will enter the race with a bid of their own. With Arsenal waiting in the wings too, Lille could have a three-way bidding war on their hands.
According to TransferMarkt, Gabriel is valued at £15.8m, up over £13m since the start of the season.
His value had risen to £19.8m but since the world of football came to a halt, his value has decreased – as has the value of most football players as football’s finances take a big hit from the pandemic.