Villarreal’s official website has announced that the Spanish club have left Gabriel Paulista out of their squad to face Levante UD this weekend, suggesting an Arsenal transfer could be close.
The Brazilian has been strongly linked with a switch to Emirates Stadium, with Arsene Wenger even confirming his interest in his press conference ahead of the FA Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion.
“The talks are progressing quite well,” said Wenger to the BBC. “Can we find an agreement or not I don’t know. We are slowly progressing and there is a chance.
“We are ready to pay the price we think right for a good player.”
The Daily Express suggest that a deal is only hours away, with a £6 million fee agreed.
There would be considerable add-ons to the transfer based on performance, which will come as little surprise given that Paulista’s release clause is €20m (approximately £15m).
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With the 24 year-old signed, our defence may well be sorted for the long term, with two players for every position.
Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny would compete for the left sided centre back role, Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers for their partner, Mathieu Debuchy and Hector Bellerin are fine right backs, and Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal will battle for the left back slot.
In addition, with Chambers able to play at right back and Monreal able to fill in inside, we’d only need a top class centre midfielder to be a top team.
Let’s just hope Paulista can secure that work permit.