Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the club are in talks with Villarreal to sign their defender Gabriel Paulista.
The 24 year old, who has a £15 million release clause in his contract, has been heavily linked with the Gunners since the start of the month. The defender confirmed earlier this week that his agent has been contacted by the Gunners over a January move.
The French manager has refused to confirm whether the club are willing to meet the release clause in January, but has conceded that he is very keen on securing the defender.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, he said:
We are talking at the moment. Can we find an agreement or not? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing but there’s a chance.
We are ready to pay the price we think is right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.
[The deal is] 50-50 at this moment. We respect the rules in England – when you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no. We will accept that.
First of all I don’t really understand the logic of this rule. [I don’t understand] the logic that the availability of the work permit is linked exactly with the amount of money you spend. It should be linked with the quality of the players only.
Secondly we want the player. If a player we want needs a work permit then we’ll [do] it now because we will not necessarily want to do it in the summer. We are short at the moment so no matter what the rules are, we have to do it now.
The Brazilian is known for his versatility as he can play on either side of the center back pairing. His tenacity and aggression make him a great fit for the physical demands of the Premier League. He outwits attackers with his reading of the game and thrives on effectively man marking the opponents.
He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his athleticism enables him to quickly transition defence into attack. His biggest asset is his versatility and signing him would give Wenger more flexibility at the back. The boss has recently shown that he can effectively utilise technical players in various roles like he did with Calum Chambers.
He has a £15 million release clause in his contract but I don’t think Wenger rates him that high, so it remains to be seen whether Villarreal will budge on their demands. The boss never speaks about the transfers unless they are very close, so I expect the deal to go through some time this week. However I believe we need one more defender because of the work permit issue.
Will Paulista get a work permit?