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Work permit approved for Gabriel Paulista

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The defender inches ever closer to Arsenal.

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According to the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson, the Home Office has approved a work permit for Villarreal's Gabriel Paulista ahead of a move to Arsenal, clearing one of the final hurdles needed to bring him to London. He is undergoing a medical exam today and, barring any unforeseen issues in that exam, should be an Arsenal player by the end of the day.

Arsene Wenger noted yesterday that the deal was close to being completed, but the work permit issue was still a concern. Gabriel didn't meet the automatic qualification of playing in 75% of Brazil's international fixtures in a two-year period -- he is uncapped -- but Arsenal were evidently able to argue successfully that Gabriel is a good player and would "contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in England."

SIDEBAR: There's an interesting note in there as well about work permit rules changing in summer, which would make it even harder to get players into the country. Evidently the appeals process Arsenal successfully completed is being eliminated, in favor of a £10 million exemption threshold. So we have more fee inflation to look forward to, it would appear.