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Wenger Hints At More Signings After Confirming Another Deal Is Close

Arsene Wenger has hinted he may still bring in further new additions after confirming that he’s in talks to seal a deal for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista

With the January transfer in full swing, managers are strengthening their squads ahead of the second half of the season, so we’ll bring you all the latest news and gossip. Today, Arsenal close in on their second January signing….

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hinted he may still bring in further new additions after confirming that he’s in talks to seal a deal for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista.

We’re expected to bring in another central defender this month as Arsene Wenger has previously admitted the injury to Mathieu Debuchy has left him short of options at the back.

Gabriel has emerged as the most likely target in recent days with reports earlier this week claiming that we had failed with our opening offer of €6.5m (£5m), which included sending Joel Campbell to Spain on loan as part of the deal.

Subsequent reports suggested that we were still locked in negotiations and were prepared to meet Villarreal’s asking price – which is set at the €20m (£15m) written into the 24-year-old’s buy-out clause.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference this morning ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Brighton, Wenger admitted that the club are in talks over the signing of Gabriel and although he refused to confirm if he’d agreed to pay the players buy-out fee, the boss did insist that he’ll pay whatever is required to land the right player.

The major stumbling block over any potential deal is gaining a work permit as Gabriel has failed to earn a single cap for the Brazil national team, so Arsene says the chances of concluding the move are just 50:50 at present:

He told

“We are talking at the moment [over Gabriel]. Can we find an agreement or not? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing but there’s a chance,” the manager said.

“We are ready to pay the price we think is right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.

“[The deal is] 50-50 at this moment. We respect the rules in England – when you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no. We will accept that.”

Work permit rules are set to change in the summer, with players who command a transfer fee in excess of £10m no longer requiring a British work permit. Obviously if Arsenal are going to pay around £15m for Gabriel, we could just wait until the end of the season to seal the deal, but Wenger is keen to push through the move this month due to our lack of options at the back.

He continued:

“First of all I don’t really understand the logic of this rule,” he said. “[I don’t understand] the logic that the availability of the work permit is linked exactly with the amount of money you spend. It should be linked with the quality of the players only.

“Secondly we want the player. If a player we want needs a work permit then we’ll [do] it now because we will not necessarily want to do it in the summer. We are short at the moment so no matter what the rules are, we have to do it now.”

It’s very rare for Wenger to be so open about transfers so understandably, many fans are taking his openness as a sign that we are in fact a lot closer to signing Gabriel than he’s letting on.

If we do end up signing the Brazilian centre-back he’ll become our second signing this month after we concluded a deal for young midfielder Krystian Bielik earlier this week and I, like many fans and journalists, thought they may be our only two new additions.

However, Wenger has left the door open to doing even more transfer business after saying that even if he signs Gabriel, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s closed his cheque-book this month.

When asked if Gabriel would be his last deal, Arsene told reporters:

“If we do sign him, then it won’t necessarily be us done in the transfer window.”

If we do bring in another player, it will be interesting to see which position we strengthen. We might go for an experienced short-term option at right-back to replace Debuchy, or we could look to bring in a top class holding midfielder – although I’m sure Francis Coquelin’s resurgence in form might have a bearing on the managers plans.

However, there have also been rumours that Joel Campbell could be leaving on loan, so if he does leave then my guess would be that we’ll bring in another attacker, possibly on loan. Reports in Italy this week suggested we’re in for Roma forward Mattia Destro, so maybe that’s one to keep an eye on….

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