With Krystian Bielik now in the bag, it is thought Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger has turned his attention to Gabriel Paulista.
The Gunners were said to be closing on a £2million deal for Bielik last week, and they have now secured the signature of the 17-year-old Pole. A defensive midfielder, it is understood the former Legia Warsaw youngster will be fast tracked in the first team squad at the Emirates Stadium club, who are currently without a number of key players in this position due to injury.
Mikel Arteta may not play again this season after undergoing an operation on his ankle, which casts doubt over the long-term future of the Spaniard, who turns 33 in March and is out of contract in the summer. The injury-prone Abou Diaby, who hasn’t kicked a ball since September, is in the same position contract-wise, whilst Jack Wilshere is sidelined for at least another month.
So despite his relative inexperience – Bielik has only played six times this season – the arrival of the teenager is a welcome boost, although he could yet find himself playing in defence. This is another position Wenger is hoping to boost before the 2 February deadline, and it has been widely reported on Wednesday that the Frenchman is closing on a deal for Gabriel Paulista.
The uncapped Brazilian – known as Gabriel – has been plying his trade in Spain for Villarreal since 2013 when he joined from Vitoria in his homeland, and has gone on to make 37 appearances in La Liga. It is thought Arsenal are in advanced talks over signing the 24-year-old, although they may have to pay his release clause of £15.25million to force the issue with the club from El Madrigal.
It is also unlikely that the player would be granted a work permit due to his lack of international football, but the Gunners would appeal citing his exceptional talent. Speaking recently, Gabriel said: “Whether I go to Arsenal or stay at Villarreal, I won’t lose my head. I’m very calm. My head is at Villarreal and I’m very focused. My agent is working on making sure I continue being calm.”
Is it realistic to expect Bielik to have an impact for Arsenal this season? Let us know what you think by joining in with the discussion below.