Usually, when Arsène Wenger is asked about transfer targets or deals, he responds with one out of three stock answers: "No", "We are in the market, but nothing is close", or most amusingly, "I don't know who he is". When asked about 24-year old defender Gabriel, however, Wenger has confirmed that the club are in negotiations with Villarreal, and rates the chances of signing him as 50/50:
The talks are progressing quite well. Can we find an agreement or not? I don't know. We are slowly progressing and there's a chance. It's 50/50. We are ready to pay the price for a player if he is good enough. If the price is right, we will pay.
Wenger also confirmed the price for Gabriel, £15m, which perhaps shows that the club are ready to do business with Villarreal, but are putting pressure on the FA-run appeal process to gain a work permit. As of next season, any player over £10m will get a work permit, and the club feel that based on that rule, as well as work permits handed to other players, Gabriel should qualify despite not being capped for Brazil.
Wenger usually does not comment on transfers unless they really are close to completion, thus this development should be taken as good news. It seems increasingly likely that Gabriel will be Arsenal player by the end of the transfer window.