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Arsenal reach agreement over Paulista deal

ESPN staff
January 24, 2015
Gabriel Paulista has spoken openly about the proposed move to Arsenal © Getty Images

Arsenal have signed centre-back Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal, with attacker Joel Campbell going the other way on loan until the end of the season.

The deals were confirmed via Villarreal's twitter feed on Saturday evening, ahead of their La Liga game at home to Levante, with the Brazilian defender having been left out of the match squad.

The tweet says: "Agreement with Arsenal for Gabriel, who will say goodbye today after game. Good Luck!"

According to reports in Spain, Arsenal will pay the €20 million (£15m) buyout clause in Gabriel's current contract while a €1m (£750,000) loan fee would change hands for Campbell to spend the remainder of 2013-14 campaign as a Villarreal player.

Another tweet followed confirming the Campbell loan deal was done. "Welcome @joel_campbell12!," it said. "Loan agreed with Arsenal until the end of the season."

The deals were soon confirmed via statements on the Villarreal club website, with the Spanish outfit saying that there were still some details to be concluded before everything was finalised.

"Ahead of the finalisation of some small contractual details on Monday, Villarreal and Arsenal have agreed the transfer of the Brazilian defender Gabriel Armando de Abreu," the statement said. "Once the centre-half passes a medical he will join the London Premier League club."

The statement on the Campbell deal also said the move was still dependent on a medical.

"Villarreal and Arsenal have reached agreement for the loan for the Costa Rican player Joel Campbell, who after passing the usual medical will play with the 'Submarine' until the end of the season."

Gabriel, 24, had spoken openly last week about the possibility of a move to the Emirates Stadium during the current transfer window, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying the deal was 50-50, and Villarreal coach Marcelino admitting that his club would accept the deal being done, but only once the buy-out clause was paid.

Costa Rica winger Campbell, who impressed on loan at Real Betis in La Liga two seasons ago and had an excellent World Cup for his country last summer, had also been a target for David Moyes at Real Sociedad.

However, the 22-year-old is now set to join the in-form Madrigal outfit's three-pronged bid for success this year via Champions League qualification, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League.

Gabriel does not meet the current required international criteria for a UK work permit as he is yet to represent Brazil at the senior level. As such, Arsenal will need to convince a Football Association hearing that the player is an ''exceptional talent."

A new set of regulations has been proposed for next season in a bid to reduce the number of non-European Union passport holders within the English domestic game. The changes, backed by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke, would see the current requirement of a player having taken part in 75% of internationals over the past two years if their country is ranked within the top 70 tightened, but also allow an exception for any transfers over £10m.

Wenger has long championed the complete freedom of movement for talented players, no matter what their passport says, and believes there is an argument to make football a special case to scrap all the government red tape.

'Ideally it would open completely, and anyone can come in," the Frenchman said on Thursday.

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