Gabriel Paulista’s move seems to have gathered sufficient pace in the last 24 hours with the uncapped Brazilian central defender being left out of Villareal’s 18 man squad for their upcoming game with Levante, it is not a case of the player being injured as there were even injuries and players set to miss out due to suspension named which suggests he may have played his last La Liga game.
Paulista has been in brilliant form so far this season and will be a massive loss to “the yellow submarine” as they were clearly hopeful of hanging on to their 24 year old defender, he has been one of the reasons that Villareal have been on such a good run of 15 games unbeaten and they sit 6th just 10 points off league leaders Real Madrid.
Arsene Wenger has admitted Arsenal’s interest in bringing Paulista to the Emirates and the fee is a reported £15 million which many would see as a snip for a player that already looks the finished article and will undoubtedly improve in the Premier League, he is a player that has also reportedly caught Louis Van Gaal’s eye and with his impressive defensive stats it is easy to see why, he holds his own when you compare him to La Liga’s best defenders.
The one sticking point for the transfer will obviously be the work permit issue, something Wenger has been very outspoken about in the last few days claiming that the work permit regulations have cost English football some real talent which has seen teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona capitalise on Spain’s more relaxed immigration policy. It is hard to argue with that, when he name drops Angel Di Maria as a target in the past when he was 17 and immigration rules in the UK stopped any possible deal even getting off the ground that would make any fan frustrated at what could have been. Current rules state that a player must have featured in 75% of his country’s internationals in the last 2 years.
Regulations are due to change in the Summer when any player that carries a fee above £10 million will be granted a work permit immediately which will be music to many a manager’s ears you would assume. For now it looks like Wenger is keen on rushing this through and doing his business now, not waiting around like he has in previous windows. Arsenal will take it to appeal and have to show that Paulista possesses “real quality” if he is to be granted his work permit.
Arsenal fans have been crying out for defenders even before the lack of replacement for the departed Thomas Vermaelen in the Summer and with the poor form of Vice Captain Per Mertesacker he is imperative that one or two are brought in this month. Paulista looks like the real deal and it would not be a surprise if he is partnered with Laurent Koscielny long term, if the club can find away of convincing the UK Home Office that the uncapped Brazilian is worthy of his permit.
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