Arsenal are merely hours away from clinching the signing of Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista, with the Gunners ready to pay a mooted total of £15 million for his services.
According to the Daily Express, citing sources in Spain, the uncapped Brazilian is set to move to north London so long as a work-permit can be sorted out. His case is now likely set to be heard by the Football Association appeals panel given that he has no caps for his national side - regulations state a player must have appeared in 75% of his country’s matches over the past two years.
Wenger deal for Paulista
Nevertheless the deal that would see Arsene Wenger get the defender he so desperately craves looks like it’s edging ever closer, and if it is Paulista who reinforces his back-line he could deal a blow to Manchester United in the process.
The Red Devils are said to be ready to hijack Arsenal’s bid for the La Liga ace, with Louis van Gaal also looking to solidify his defensive options.
Naturally Wenger will be looking to guard against that, and Spanish papers have claimed the finalisation of an agreement is ‘hours away’. The exact fee that Arsenal are set to pay remains to be unveiled, with well-known transfer guru Guillem Balague claiming just yesterday that Villarreal wanted Gunners outcast Joel Campbell as part of the deal.
Having impressed at the World Cup in the summer, following a loan spell at Olympiacos that helped his rise to prominence, Campbell has settled in unspectacularly this campaign, and Wenger has only used him as a bit-part character.
Therefore he may be deemed a necessary sacrifice in order for Paulista to come the other way, although these claims have yet to be officially substantiated.
Even if Arsenal don’t land Paulista of course there are other options on the table. Saint Etienne captain Loic Perrin is another cheap asset who has experience at a good level of the game, and his club would likely be ready to cash in on him were they to be offered a satisfactory sum.
Another alternative is West Ham star Winston Reid, though Tottenham Hotspur would prove difficult contenders if Wenger was to opt for that route.