Real Madrid have joined the hunt for Chelsea defensive target Gabriel Magalhaes – but the Blues remain in driving seat, according to reports.

Lille man Gabriel has emerged as a target for the west Londoners after their rivals Arsenal, along with Everton, failed with January offers to bring him to the Premier League.

The Blues appear to be leading the race for the Brazilian centre-half, who played 24 times in Ligue 1 for Les Dogues this season, although there is now a powerful new competitor for his signature.

According to AS (via Sport Witness), Los Blancos are eyeing up a move for Gabriel as a possible third-choice behind Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, after Eder Militao didn’t quite live up to expectations following a 2019 move.

The only issue for the Galacticos is that Gabriel would take up one of the non-EU spots in their roster – which they currently do not have enough of to accommodate the South American.

However, the club remain keen because the 22-year-old would be a cheaper alternative to RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, who had been a major summer transfer target for them until now.

Gabriel is said to be valued around the €20 million bracket, whereas Upamecano’s asking price is still higher, in spite of having been reduced by one-third down to €40 million.

It is claimed that the Blues have stolen a march on Madrid, though, by entering talks behind the scenes last month – although no final agreement has yet been reached.