Gabriel Paulista Villarreal Frank Etoundi FC Zurich
Arsene Wenger said he is confident Gabriel Paulista will obtain a work permitReuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident of sealing the signing of Gabriel Paulista in the next few hours.

Confirming the deal was set to be signed, sealed and delivered after Arsenal's 3-2 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, Wenger also seemed positive on the Brazilian obtaining a work permit.

While it has looked inevitable that Arsenal would agree terms with Villarreal over a move for Paulista, what was far from certain was the work permit that the player would need to be able to play in the English Premier League this season.

Work permit rules state that a player needs to have played a certain amount of matches for his country over the last couple of years or have an EU passport and that was never going to be the case with Paulista yet to make a single appearance for Brazil and only moving to Europe at the beginning of last season.

The only other way of getting a work permit is by proving to the powers that be that the player is an "exceptional talent", something that Arsenal have done in the past with Eduardo and Ryo Miyaichi.

Asked if he is confident of obtaining a work permit for Paulista, Wenger, who has been unusually open about the transfer, said: "We will be all right on that front."

The manager was speaking to BT Sport after the FA Cup fourth round match against Brighton, and the Frenchman also confirmed a deal would be completed officially soon.

"It is very, very close," said Wenger on Sunday. "It should be done tomorrow.

"He is 24 years old, good size, good pace, he is a good defender. He's only played one year in Europe, so maybe there are some things to work on, but the potential is there."

Arsenal desperately need a centre-back in their squad, with only Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker currently their senior centre-backs.

While Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal can fill-in in that position, the long-term injury to Mathieu Debuchy had put Wenger in a need-to-buy position, which he has done extremely well with the signing of Paulista.

As a part of the deal, Joel Campbell will move to Villarreal on loan until the end of the season.