Wenger: Arsenal progressing with Gabriel signing

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed the club are making progress in their efforts to sign defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal, ESPN has reported.

Wenger also confirmed that the fee being mooted is £15m but stopped short of saying the Brazilian would definitely be arriving at the Emirates Stadium. “Talks are progressing quite well,” he said. “Can we find an agreement? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing and there is a chance.

“It is €20m, which is £15m,” Wenger continued. “We are ready to pay the price we think right for a good player. If we think it is the right price, we will pay.”

Wenger also hinted the Gunners could make further signings in the January transfer window and revealed midfielder Francis Coquelin has been offered a new contract ahead of his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

Regarding Paulista, a work permit would be required and Wenger questioned the process by which documentation is granted for non-EU players. “I don’t understand the logic of this [work permit] rule,” he said. “If the player we want needs a work permit, we will defend [try and get] it now. We don’t want to do it in the summer. We are short now.

“We go in front of a commission and they tell us, ok, yes or no. We accept and respect that. Are the rules right or not? That can be discussed,” Wenger went on. “The logic that the availability of the work permit is the amount of money you spend, that is not how it should be. It should be linked to the quality of the player.

“The 75 percent [of international games] rule can also be questioned. It is much more difficult to make 75 percent of games for Brazil than it is Luxembourg. It is difficult to make a rule to satisfy everybody.”

Paulista would join a South and Central American enclave at the Emirates Stadium which already includes goalkeeper David Ospina and forwards Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez, as well as young goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. He would also be the club’s second January signing after young Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik.

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