Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal on a long-term contract. The 24-year-old Brazilian, who has been granted a work permit despite not having yet made an international appearance, arrives for an undisclosed fee -- thought to be around £13 million -- with Arsenal forward Joel Campbell moving in the other direction on loan for the rest of the season.
“A while ago I had a really huge desire to play in the Premier League, so since that point I put it in my head that I really wanted to do it,” said Gabriel, accoding to Arsenal’s official website. “I had a talk with my family and I told them that it was my dream to play in the Premier League. Getting here to such a big club is so gratifying.”
But, with Wenger having previously suggested that Gabriel wouldn’t be his last signing of the January transfer window, speculation is already underway as to who might be next to arrive at the Emirates Stadium. One man who can perhaps now be ruled out is Moussa Sissoko. The Newcastle United midfielder has on more than one occasion made his affection for Arsenal known, but he has now revealed that there has yet to be any contact with the Gunners and that he is content to remain at St James’ Park for the time being.
"I am focused on Newcastle,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I have a four-and-a-half year contract so in my head I still tell myself I am still here for four years and a half. They appreciate me here and everything is good.
“I am not saying that I absolutely want to go or not. If it happens, it happens. I am at Newcastle and I will continue to work until one day I have the chance to play at a very big club. Nobody has called me. My agent and I have not spoken to anyone.”
Sissoko’s colleague in Newcastle’s midfield, Cheick Tiote has long been seen as a possible target to add some bite to Arsenal’s center. Those links have resurfaced this month, with The Telegraph suggesting that Wenger may pursue the Ivorian if, as expected, he fails to land his top target Morgan Schneiderlin before Monday’s deadline.
Despite landing Gabriel, Arsenal are also linked with further strengthening of their backline. According to British outlet Talksport, Wenger is interested in Empoli’s 20-year-old central defender Daniele Rugani. After a first call up to the Italy squad last October, Rugani is also said to be attracting the interest of Real Madrid. However, any bid to sign the player will be heavily complicated by the fact he is co-owned by Juventus.
Arsenal’s interest does not end there, according to the Daily Star. The tabloid has reported that Arsenal are also keen on Milan center-back Adil Rami. The experienced France international only moved to the San Siro on a permanent deal in the summer, having spent the second half of last season on loan there from Valencia. Although a £6 million transfer is mooted, it would be a major surprise were Rami to be heading to the Emirates.