Arsenal set sights on sealing Gabriel Paulista deal

Gabriel Paulista: Would not meet automatic work permit criteria.

Arsenal are expected to press ahead with their interest in Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista following the completion of a deal for teenage midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw.

However, the Gunners are likely to have to overcome a work permit hearing before the uncapped Brazilian would be allowed to play in England.

Poland youth international Bielik, who can play in midfield or defence, is expected to work initially within the Gunners’ Under-21s side, with a view to a swift progression of the 17-year-old prospect through to the senior squad. Arsenal confirmed the transfer from Legia Warsaw for an undisclosed fee of Bielik, who also had talks with German club Hamburg and is understood to have cost around £2.5 million (€3.2m).

Any move to bring in Paulista ahead of the transfer deadline, however, is unlikely to prove so straightforward.

It is understood Arsenal are interested in brokering a deal, but negotiations are at a very early stage.

Villarreal want to see the €20m £15.25m) release clause activated, with manager Marcelino admitting earlier this week that might prove “impossible to turn down”.

Arsenal, though, are said to be offering in the region of £10m, which would be following add-ons to an initial down payment.

While terms could be swiftly wrapped up, clearing British government red tape at the Home Office could potentially scupper any proposed transfer.

As Gabriel is not a European Union citizen and has yet to establish himself as a senior Brazil international, he would not meet the automatic work permit criteria. Arsenal, therefore, would need to convince a Football Association hearing, which is run on behalf of the British Home Office, that the player was an “exceptional talent” and so should be granted permission to work.

That recommendation is then passed onto the a government department for a final ruling.

There are no guarantees such a procedure would have a positive outcome.


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