Saturday August 22 2020
Napoli leave Gabriel to Arsenal

Lille defender Gabriel is increasingly likely to join Arsenal, as Napoli turn their focus towards Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matvienko.

The Partenopei have a gentleman’s agreement to sign Gabriel for €26m plus bonuses, but cannot make the move until Kalidou Koulibaly has been sold to Manchester City.

The negotiations for that transfer are dragging on and Sky Sport Italia, Sportitalia and more report Arsenal are taking advantage of the situation by increasing their bid for Gabriel.

Manchester United are also interested, but the Gunners are comfortably the favourites, especially as he has already undergone a medical with the London club.

Sportitalia and Gazzetta dello Sport transfer expert Alfredo Pedullà claims Napoli have decided to drop Gabriel and go for a different target, assuming Koulibaly is sold.

The new objective is Matvienko of Shakhtar Donetsk, a 24-year-old who already has 26 senior Ukraine caps under his belt.

His versatility is what attracted Napoli, as Matvienko is a centre-back who can also play on the left or right of a four-man defence.

Only under contract with Shakhtar until June 2021, his price-tag is believed to be around €12-15m.

Curiously, Matvienko too had been a target for Arsenal some time ago, while Leeds United have him in their sights.