Old Trafford side chase Emirates Stadium target.
Man United are ready to hijack Arsenal’s move for Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista according to the London Evening Standard.
The Brazilian is seemingly available with Villarreal unable to prevent the defender’s exit if his £15.3m release clause is met and both Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal could do with reinforcements at the back.
Villarreal have the third best defensive record in the Spanish top tier and this is down in no small part to the efforts of the 24 year old and a high-profile move could well lead to a first senior national team call-up.
That lack of a national team cap could however hamper the prospects of a work permit being permitted to Paulista with players having to have played in 75 per cent of their country’s matches over the last two years to qualify, which would mean both Premier League sides would have to apply for special dispensation to complete the deal this month.
Arsenal have found themselves short of options at the back this term, both Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy having to fill in as makeshift centre-backs, whilst Louis van Gaal has seen senior trio Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all struggle with form and fitness.