It is not like Arsene Wenger to tell the football media anything at all about his Arsenal transfer plans. All the Frenchman usually says is something along the lines of, we are working hard, it is difficult and there is no point signing any players just for the sake of it.
And it is January as well, the transfer window that the boss likes about as much as an ince cube down the back of his jumper on a wintery British day. So when I heard the Frenchman being so forthcoming about the transfer talks that are going on between the Gunners and Villareal about the Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista, I instantly assumed that the deal is all but done.
You can see what Wenger said in his press conference ahead of the FA cup clash with Brighton on the Arsenal website, where he suggests that the only thing holding up the completion of the defender’s transfer from La Liga is the money. Wenger does make mention of the reported issue of Paulista, who has no EU passport and has not played for the Brazil national team, getting a work permit. But I assume that the manager has been given positive news on this.
The Prof said, “We are talking at the moment. Can we find an agreement or not? I don’t know. We are slowly progressing but there’s a chance.
“We are ready to pay the price we think is right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.
“[The deal is] 50-50 at this moment. We respect the rules in England – when you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no. We will accept that.”
There is going to be a change on the work permit rules in the summer, which mean that a player costing at least £10 million will not need one. Whether that means Wenger is trying to get Paulista for less than this remains to be seen but Wenger admitted that he did have a release clause in his contract of 20 million euros so he is clearly trying to pay less or there would be no need for talks.
Wenger continued, “First of all I don’t really understand the logic of this rule. [I don’t understand] the logic that the availability of the work permit is linked exactly with the amount of money you spend. It should be linked with the quality of the players only.
“Secondly we want the player. If a player we want needs a work permit then we’ll [do] it now because we will not necessarily want to do it in the summer. We are short at the moment so no matter what the rules are, we have to do it now.”
Does this seem like a done deal to you Gooners?