Arsenal centre-back trio tipped to leave after Gabriel Magalhaes transfer

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Arsenal could let three defenders leave when Gabriel Magalhaes finally arrives.

Mikel Arteta was always keen to do business during his first summer transfer window as a manager and Willian looks set to be joined by fellow Brazilian Gabriel.

The Lille centre-back is certain to leave the club having impressed in Ligue 1, and was also the subject of interest from Napoli, Everton and Manchester United.

Although the deal will be good news for some – it looks as though three other defenders could be forced out the door because they are now surplus to requirements.

The defenders in question are Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who made a combined 38 appearances in the Premier League last season.

Holding is said to be a target for Leeds United as they prepare for their top flight season for 16 years, and the Mail report that he could act as an alternative for Ben White as Brighton stand firm.

Mustafi has been earmarked as a target for Napoli by Ciro Venerato, who are set to miss out on Arsenal target Gabriel.

Sokratis has also been linked with Napoli as they look at potential replacements for Kalidou Koulibaly, as reported by Italian journalist Nicolo Shira last week.

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  • Arteta has been open about is transfer market plans over the last few months, and said in June: “We have to put a plan [in place] to improve our squad, that’s first, fulfil the ambitions that we have, have the right players to support the talented young players that we have.

    “They are still in the very early stages of their development and we have to know that, but we don’t have time.

    “The demands of this football club are huge and we cannot stay still. We have to change things, we have to improve them.

    “The most important thing is not about keeping [players], it is about improving them, convince them of what we are trying to do and get them performing and winning football matches.”

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    Gabriel looks to be a step in the right direction for the Gunners, and Lille president Gerard Lopez admitted that he had received plenty of options.

    “He is one of the players that we allowed to exit the club this summer, he asked for it and wants to try something else,” Lopez had told Sky Sports.

    “We clearly told him what our expectations were, we spoke to a number of clubs, our expectations were met by a number of clubs and we have given him the time to decide.

    “It is going to be entirely his decision. We tend to try and steer our players in certain directions, but at the end of the day it’s the player’s decision. I know he is going to make a decision early next week."

    • Arsenal FC
    • Mikel Arteta
    • Premier League
    • Transfer news
    • Leeds United FC
    • Napoli FC

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