Lille rejected a €20m offer from Everton for defender Gabriel Magalhães yesterday because they have a gentleman’s agreement on the player with Napoli.

That’s according to Sky Sport Italy journalist Gianluca di Marzio, relayed by Area Napoli, who says the Italian side have had the Brazilian defender ‘reserved’ for some time.

Magalhães has strongly been linked with Everton for several months, with reports stating that Carlo Ancelotti had identified the Brazilian as one of his prime targets this summer.

The Blues were close to finalising a deal earlier this year only to pull back on the agreement following the Coronavirus epidemic, which has decimated finances around Europe.

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Since then, Napoli have stolen a march in the race for his signature, with it widely felt that they are on the verge of completing a deal after earmarking him as the replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly.

Di Marzio says this is very much the case, and an agreement between both clubs has seen a new bid from Everton rejected.

“Naples is betting heavily on Gabriel Magalhaes del Lille,” Area Napoli report the Sky journalist claiming.

“The defender, class ’97, has a contract expiring in 2023, the Italian club has booked him for some time now.

“So much so that the French club refused 20 million yesterday from Everton because of the gentleman agreement they have with Napoli.

“The outcome of the negotiation will depend on the possible sale of Koulibaly: if it comes soon, Napoli will bet strongly on Gabriel; otherwise Lille and the player’s agents will evaluate the other proposals.

“The interest of Arsenal and Manchester United is also alive.”

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An interesting, if all not that surprising development in this long-running saga then.

It’s looked for a while that Napoli would get their man, particularly after building up a good relationship with Lille in negotiations for Victor Osimhen.

The deal being directly tied into Koulibaly also makes sense as there was no logic in Napoli signing Gabriel without the Senegalese leaving first.

He is not even remotely close to a move, though, with his main suitors, Manchester City, still negotiating over Aurelio de Laurentiis’ massive asking price.

That deal seems unlikely to be completed any time soon, thus giving Everton hope, which is backed up by an article directly on Sky Italia’s website stating ‘Lille will not wait very long and have given Napoli a few days to understand whether the Senegalese defender is actually out or not’.

If that deadline passes, it might be worth another go for the Toffees…