Arsenal are poised to announce their first major signing of the January transfer window, with Gabriel Paulista set to complete a deal from Villarreal. After his side’s win over Brighton in the FA Cup on Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that an agreement was “very, very close,” for the Brazilian defender. And Villarreal have now revealed that they are happy with the terms on their end and expect the transfer to be confirmed on Monday.
In a statement on their website, Villarreal state that the player will iron out the specific deals of his contract and undergo a medical in London. While no official fee has been revealed, the 24-year-old is expected to cost around 15 million euros (£11.25 million). Gabriel has played 50 times for Villarreal since arriving from Brazilian club Vitória in 2013. He hasn’t, though, yet made an appearance for Brazil, which means he would not automatically qualify for a work permit in the United Kingdom. However, according to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have already been successful with their appeal and arguing that he has a special talent.
One aspect of the transfer has already gone through, with Villarreal confirming on their website that Arsenal forward Joel Campbell has joined them on loan until the end of the season. The Costa Rica international was enjoying his first campaign at the Gunners having been loaned out for the first three years of his stay at the club after failing to get a work permit. Campbell made just three starts this season, failing to hit the back of the net.
Exactly a week of the transfer window now remains, leaving little time for further deals. Yet Wenger, despite having already welcomed 17-year-old Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik, recently said that Gabriel’s signing would not necessarily be the end of his business. The Daily Star reports that Arsenal are weighing up a move for Valencia right-back Joao Pereira. The Portugal international’s contract is set to expire in the summer, but, having been frozen out of the first team at the Spanish club, he could well depart on a cut-price deal this month.
While first-choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy is out until April with a dislocated shoulder, it would be a surprise were Wenger to target another player in his position, given the presence of Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers. Potentially a more versatile operator may be of more use to an Arsenal squad that has continued to suffer a consistent stream of injuries. That seems to be the thinking behind Metro’s report of Arsenal’s interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Kevin Grosskreutz and the suggestion that a £3.7 million bid has already been lodged. Grosskreutz, a right-footer, has played all across the midfield and in both full-back slots for Dortmund. Given his flexibility and dependability, it seems unlikely that the struggling Bundesliga aide would be willing to part with him at this stage, although his contract is set to expire in 18 months.
Still, a deal for the Germany international is not as farfetched as Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets moving to the Emirates. The Daily Star reports that Arsenal are one of a number of clubs monitoring the situation with the World Cup winning midfielder. They look set to be disappointed, however, with Busquets in discussions over a new contract at the Camp Nou, according to Catalan publication Sport.