Gabriel Paulista, a Brazilian footballer currently playing for Villarreal, has been granted a UK work permit to play for Arsenal.
Confirmation was received yesterday (28 January) that Paulista has been signed by Arsenal for €15 million (£11.2 million). The deal will also mean that Arsenal's Joel Campbell will join the Spanish team on loan.
The decision to grant a UK work permit to Paulista might be seen as somewhat controversial by some given that he does not meet the prescribed criteria for the immigration paperwork.
To receive a work permit without an appeal process being launched a player must rank within Fifa's top 70 world teams and they must have played in 75 per cent of their country's international matches over the course of the last 24 months.
However, in many cases the system allows teams to make appeals for specific players, regardless of whether or not they meet the criteria. The Football Association recently called for the regulations to be changed to ensure a fairer set of regulations are followed.
Gabriel is uncapped from his time in the game but this has not stopped Arsenal from pursuing the centre-back and full-back for their team. Arsenal claimed that the player has been an “ever present” player on Villarreal's team this season, helping them to achieve a decent record of conceding 17 goals in their first 19 La Liga matches.
The Brazilian commented on the move: “I had a talk with my family and I told them that it was my dream to play in the Premier League.
“The fans can expect a Gabriel that on the field has a lot of will to be able to help the team win important things.”