By Noel Whelan

28th Mar, 2020 | 11:40am

Exclusive: Ancelotti tipped to sign 22-yr-old by Whelan as Sky report Everton bid accepted

Noel Whelan claims Everton have “got to win” the race to sign Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes this summer.

The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists a new centre-back is a must for Carlo Ancelotti’s men when the summer transfer window opens.

As reported by Sky Sports, the Toffees are one of a number of clubs to have had a bid accepted for the 22-year-old and a deal is expected to be completed swiftly.

Whelan claims bolstering the back line is a priority for Carlo Ancelotti this summer and has tipped the Italian boss to sink the hopes of their rivals for Gabriel.

Asked if a new centre-back was a must for Everton, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think Yerry Mina’s got gradually better but he’s (Gabriel) sought after by many clubs, he’s at a good age, 22, so yes, I think Everton need to look more defensively.

“They’ve got very talented flair players and creativity in the final third. I think what they do need to do is bolster that defence and become a little bit harder to beat in that central spine area.

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“I’m not surprised at Ancelotti, he’s got a very clever brain on him, he knows what a club needs. He’s had plenty of time now to assess where they are weak and where he needs to strengthen and it’s definitely at centre-half.

“I think it’s a good move and the fact other clubs are looking at him and he’s had a very good season with Lille, they’ve got to win that race, they’ve got to get in there first. Ancelotti will definitely be somebody who tempts players to sign for them.” 

Gabriel, who has been with Lille since January 2017, has played 34 times across all competitions this season, helping his side to sit fourth in Ligue 1.

Ancelotti has had the likes of Mina, Michael Keane and Mason Holgate to call upon at centre-back this season, the Colombian featuring the most out of the trio.

In other Everton news, Paul Robinson has torn into a senior star with a serious attitude problem.