Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Arsenal sign £11.3m defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal

Arsenal have completed the £11.3million signing of defender Gabriel Paulista after the Brazilian was finally granted a work permit.

Paulista gained the work permit required under the FA's 'exceptional talent' guidelines
The centre-back, who has joined from Villareal, could go straight into Arsene Wenger's side to face Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Paulista was granted his permit under the under the FA's "exceptional talent" guidelines. The long-running wrangle came about because Paulista has not been capped by Brazil at any level but Arsenal successfully appealed, arguing he was of sufficiently high calibre and would "contribute significantly to the development of the game" in England.

Paulista joins Polish teenager Krystian Bielik in moving to north London in the past week, after the midfielder's £2.4m switch from Legia Warsaw was completed last Wednesday.

But the Gunners face a real battle to hold on to striker Chuba Akpom.

The 19-year-old, who made his fourth appearance of the season in Sunday's 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round win at Brighton, has been offered a new-three year deal.

But he only has six months left on his contract and a trio of continental clubs - FC Twente, Borussia Dortmund and Feyenoord - are poised to make pre-contract offers to lure him away for nothing in the summer.

Akpom, who joined Arsenal when he was six and has been a prolific scorer in their academy and youth teams, is also attracting interest from Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham.

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