Arsenal close to completing Gabriel Paulista deal

Arsenal plan to reinforce their back line with Villarreal's Gabriel Paulista.

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BRIGHTON, England — Arsenal is set to add a much-needed defensive reinforcement to its squad on Monday by completing the signing of Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista.

The Spanish side announced Saturday that the clubs had agreed a deal in principle for the Brazilian center back and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed the transfer was ”very, very close.”

Speaking after Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Brighton in the FA Cup on Sunday, Wenger said he is confident the 24-year-old Paulista will have no problem securing a work permit and described him as ”tall, pacy and strong in the challenges . I see in him good potential.”

Arsenal has been light on numbers in defense this season, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny the only genuine center backs in the squad.