Report: Arsenal closing in on Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista

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Arsenal have already signed one player in January, more on Krystian Bielik’s arrival here, but multiple reports claim that Brazilian central defender Gabriel Paulista is closing in on a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Paulista, 24, currently plays for Villarreal in La Liga but according to the Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson, the Gunners are looking to push through a move for Paulista in January as Arsene Wenger looks to bolster his back line with a long-term option.

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After Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Manchester City on Sunday Wenger confirmed that he is on the hunt for a central defender. Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have been much improved in recent weeks as the Gunners’ first-choice partnership in central defense, but both have spent plenty of time on the sidelines through injury. For much of this season the likes of Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal have been forced to play at center back with a real lack of cover exposing Wenger’s side.

However, with a reported $30 million to spend in January, Arsenal have been eyeing up players who could add cover and Paulista fits the bill. One snag could be getting the Brazilian a work permit as he’s never played for Brazil, so therefore would not meet the usual requirements, and Arsenal would have to make an appeal to the English FA and the Home Office that he is of “exceptional” quality despite the player only thought to be costing an initial $10 million which could rise to $15 million.

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That may be an issue, which the Gunners have had in the past with both Joel Campbell and Carlos Vela as they had to be loaned out to Spanish clubs while paperwork was squared away. On Wednesday Villarreal play Getafe in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals and if Paulista isn’t present at the heart of the “Yellow Submarine’s” defense, expect plenty more speculation regarding his future.

Arsenal fans, watch this space.