New Delhi: Premier League giants Arsenal appear to have received a boost in the race to sign defender Gabriel Paulista in the January transfer window.
According to reports, Villarreal have left the £15million-rated defender out of their squad to face Levante in La Liga encounter at the weekend.
Paulista's name was left out of the squad sheet altogether, with reports running that a deal is finalised with Arsenal. It also suggests that he has moved a step closer in joining the London club.
The Gunners are in talks with Villarreal over a move for the Brazilian and it is expected that he will face problems in obtaining a work permit as he hasn't played international football.
Whatever are the reasons if the move materializes as expected, Arsenal fans will celebrate the arrival of Paulista before the window shuts down.
Arsenal have a thin line in their defensive structure in the team and injuries to key players have seen several make shifts. Paulista's addition will add a lot of vitality and much needed experience at the back.
Earlier, it was also reported that Manchester United are also interested in the defender and could hijack a move, but it seems now that Arsenal are the frontrunners to land the Brazilian.
Arsenal who have already signed midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw in this month, face Brighton in the FA Cup 4th round encounter on Sunday.