Arsenal fans, your dream defender is nearing ever closer to arriving at the Emirates as there are reports that a deal for Gabriel Paulista could be finalized in a matter of a hours.
His manager at Villarreal, Marcellino Toral, is already resigned to the possibility of losing a player who has played a huge role in keeping his team 6th on the La Liga table in the fight for Champions League places, conceding just 17 goals in 19 games this season, the third best defence after Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“If both Gabriel Paulista and the club believe that his sale to Arsenal is the best for all parties, we will accept.” The manager was quoted as saying Per the Express.
Paulista has become the number 1 defensive target for Arsene Wenger after moves for several other targets both local and abroad seem to have become out of reach, and by the acclaim he has, it does not look like a belittling last resort. He is a strong, confident 24-year old defender who has many of the attributes Arsenal fans have loved in the great Laurent Koscielny over the years.
The one pressing issue that may threaten to scupper the deal would be the issue of receiving a work permit for him as he has not won any senior cap for the Brazilian National team, let to say playing the required 75%. But the club is confident that they can make a good appeal of Gabriel’s capacity to contribute to the development of the game in England, while his outstanding season at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan already shows he is of the highest caliber.
When asked about the move, the tough-looking defender showed nerveless calmness like one who was not overly bothered about any stumbling block to it, though he admitted he would love to play for Arsenal. He said he would leave it all to his agent and following a tweet by the Mirror’s John Cross this morning, the player’s agent has spent the last two days in the Passport office in London, trying to get necessary clearances while other terms are being agreed with the Gooners.
Arsenal have not been famously lucky with recent January signings – Reyes, Arshavin, Kallstrom – but the last defender to be signed in this window was Nacho Monreal and he has gone on to make more appearances for the club than he did at Malaga, proving an able deputy and competitor to Kieran Gibbs. It is hoped that Paulista is even better talented to push Per and Lolo all the way.
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