Arsenal obtain work permit to sign £11.3million defender

Arsenal are set to complete the deal for Villarreal ace Gabriel Paulista, after the defender managed to secure a work permit, Mirror reports.

Despite never gaining an international cap for Brazil, Paulista will be eligible to play in England once the move is finalised in the coming days.

The Gunners have been heavily linked with a move for a centre-back during the January transfer window, but are now close to unveiling the 24-year-old as their marquee mid-season signing.

The Arsenal hierarchy believe that Paulista is a player of the highest calibre, and that he’s worth bringing in despite the issues surrounding clearing him to play in the UK.

Manager Arsene Wenger has already defined Paulista as a “tall and pacy player, with good potential”.

The signing will be a welcome boost to the Gunners’ back line which has been hit by injuries since the beginning of the season, with Mathieu Debuchy nursing a dislocated shoulder and Laurent Koscielny just returning from an Achilles problem.