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Arsenal Are In Talks For Much Needed Centre Back

But Gunners could be left sweating over potential work permit issues.

Arsenal are in talks with La Liga side Villarreal over a potential deal for 24-year-old centre back Gabriel Paulista.

The Daily Telegraph say the Brazilian is keen on a move to the Gunners, despite interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United.

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However, issues over the defender’s ability to get a work permit and the fee Arsenal will pay could hold up any proposed deal.

The Spanish club are said to be holding out for the value of Paulista’s release clause, €20m or £15.25m, but the Gunners only wish to pay an initial fee of around £6m rising to £10m.

Arsenal are hopeful that Villarreal’s interest in Joel Campbell could work in their favour though selling the Costa Rica forward could leave Wenger’s side short in numbers in attack after the Frenchman sanctioned deals to let Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo leave the side on-loan.

The other obstacle the Gunners face would be over a work permit with Paulista yet to make any international appearances for Brazil.

Arsenal have history in this department with a number of young South American stars such as Wellington Silva, Carlos Vela and Joel Campbell being forced to leave North London on-loan until they qualified for a permit.

The report says Arsene Wenger has been impressed with Paulista’s form and sees him as both a long and short-term solution to his injury ravaged defence.

Paulista himself commented on the Gunners reported interest saying: “If I go to Arsenal it will be excellent. But if it’s not finalised then I am relaxed. I am focused on my work here.

“My agent is working on making sure I continue being calm. Playing in the Premier League is one of my dreams. I have spoken to my agent about this.”

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