Arsene Wenger ‘50-50’ over Gabriel Paulista transfer from Villarrael

Georgios Samaras on the move, Real Madrid sign Lucas Silva, Sampdoria capture Luis Muriel

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains hopeful of securing a deal to bring in Villarreal centre-back Gabriel Paulista, which is likely to go through an appeal for a work permit.

Villarreal want to see the €20million euro (£15.25million) release clause activated for the 24-year-old Brazilian. Arsenal, though, are said to be offering in the region of £10million, which would be following add-ons to an initial down payment.

While Wenger is cautiously optimistic a suitable agreement can be brokered, the Gunners boss accepts clearing red tape from the Home Office could be more testing given Gabriel does not meet the automatic requirements because he is not yet a full senior international.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie at Brighton, Wenger confirmed: "We are talking at the moment, can we find an agreement or not? I don't know. We are slowly progressing, but there is a chance.


“(It’s) 50-50 at this moment, yes.

“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.”

Because Gabriel has failed to meet the international quota and is not a European Union citizen, he would have to be granted permission to work in the United Kingdom.

Arsenal, therefore, would need to convince a Football Association hearing, which is run on behalf of the Home Office, that the Brazilian was an “exceptional talent” — as they successfuly did in the past with Japan’s Ryo Miyaichi and Brazil-born Croatian Eduardo da Silva, a move which was granted on appeal in August 2007.

“If a player we want needs a work permit then we will defend it now because we will not necessarily want to do it in the summer,” said Wenger, who on Wednesday completed the signing of promising teenage Poland midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw.

“We are short at the moment so no matter what the rules are, we have to do it now.

“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.

“Afterwards are the rules right or not, that can be discussed. At the moment the rules are like that, you have to go in front of a committee for a work permit.

“I think the 75 per cent rule (of internationals) as well can be questioned, because it’s much more difficult to make 75 per cent of games for Brazil than it is for Luxembourg.

“It is very difficult to make a rule that satisfies everybody.”

Arsenal have also considered a move for St Etienne captain Loic Perrin.

When asked if the proposed purchase of Gabriel would signal the end of the club’s transfer business, Wenger replied: “Not necessarily, no.”

On the way out

Meanwhile Georgios Samaras is set to leave West Brom on loan as Tony Pulis' clearout continues.

The Greece international is expected to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal on a six-month deal with a view to a permanent move, Press Association Sport understands.

He signed a two-year deal in the summer after joining on a free from Celtic. Head coach Pulis, who replaced Alan Irvine last month, continues to chase Wigan's Callum McManaman and has a serious interest in Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher.

Madrid continue to invest

Real Madrid have won the race to sign Brazilian midfielder Lucas Silva from Cruzeiro, according to reports in the Spanish press.

The European champions, who on Wednesday announced they had reached an agreement with Stromsgodset to acquire 16-year-old Norwegian forward Martin Odegaard, are also on the verge of completing a move for Silva.

Spanish sports newspaper Marca claimed on Thursday that Real have reached an agreement with Cruzeiro to sign the Brazilian starlet for a reported 15million euros.

Silva, 21, will pen a six-and-a-half year contract with the Merengue and will be unveiled next week.

The South American player had been linked to Real since August, with the Madrid outfit looking for a replacement for Xabi Alonso, who joined Bayern Munich last summer.

Silva has been linked with a host of Premier League sides — including Arsenal — during the last few months, but the player revealed he is keen on a move to the Spanish capital.

In Italy Sampdoria have completed the signings of Colombian striker Luis Muriel and Italian defender Andrea Coda from Udinese on initial loan deals.

A statement from Sampdoria read: “The striker and defender have arrived to Genoa from Udinese on a temporary basis. Sampdoria can exercise the right to acquire both players permanently at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

“Muriel has signed a contract with Samp until 2019 and Coda until 2017.”

The deal to bring the two players to Samp was delayed last week after Muriel failed a medical at Samp due to a muscular problem, which will keep him sidelined until next month.