Arsenal will complete a move for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista today, according to reports in Spain.
Paulista has been linked with a move to the Emirates over the last few days, with the player himself admitting his agent was in talks with the English Premier League club over a possible move in the January transfer window.
Arsene Wenger also admitted he is working as hard as possible to sign a centre-back during this transfer window to ensure the kind of defensive crisis the club faced in the first half of the season does not become a reality in the second half as well.
Having been linked with the likes of Mats Hummels, Winston Reid and Aymeric Laporte, it does look like Wenger has identified Paulista as the best available option in January and Arsenal have reportedly been in talks with Villarreal over completing a move as soon as possible.
That transfer could happen as early as today, with Cadena SER reporting the move will be completed by Wednesday. If that is the case it will be a huge boost for the Gunners, as Paulista has been in brilliant form for Villarreal, helping them stay within touching distance of a Champions League place in La Liga.
The signing will not come cheap, though, with the report suggesting Arsenal will have to pay the entire release clause amount of €20 million (£15.2 million), with Wenger left with little option but to agree on the fee considering the difficulties of signing quality central defenders in January.
The report from Spain also says Paulista is set to treble his wages and is keen on a move to North London, with further traction of a possible move being gained by the Villarreal manager Marcelino's recent comments on the possible transfer.
"If both Gabriel and the club believe that the sale to Arsenal is what [is] best for everyone, we accept it," he was quoted as saying by Red London.
Wenger bought little-known Laurent Koscielny from Lorient at a similar age and turned him into a world-class defender, and even if Paulista will have to wait for his chance to make the team – considering Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are the first-choice partnership – the Gunners will hope he turns out to be just as much a success as the Frenchman.
That might be jumping the gun, however, as the deal is far from done – work permit issues remain apart from the fact that nothing has been set in stone yet -- and the Arsenal fans will know pretty well a transfer to the Emirates is only really confirmed when that announcement is made on the club's official website.