£15m bid accepted: Arsenal to announce deal for Mertesacker’s replacement

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Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista is reportedly close to a move to Valencia this summer, with the two clubs agreeing on a £10m asking price.

According to the Daily Mail, the 26-year-old could be on his way to the Mestalla Stadium, with manager Arsene Wenger keen to have Gabriel off the books after a disappointing two years at the Emirates Stadium.

Signed for £15m from La Liga side Villarreal, the Brazilian centre-back has failed to nail down a starting place at Arsenal and has hardly featured in 2017. Valencia have been looking for a defender this summer and had Gabriel among a list of three targets.

Inter Milan’s Jeison Murillo and FC Porto’s Ivan Marcano have been named as options for the Spanish side, but a breakdown in negotiations with Inter led to Murillo’s move to Valencia being blocked.

Gabriel is currently recovering from injury, having made just 15 Premier League starts last season. With Arsenal having such stiff competition for a starting place at the back – Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Per Mertesacker bring options in defence – the 26-year-old has a tough task featuring.

As a result, Arsenal are happy to let him go, although a £5m loss in valuation won’t be best-pleasing to Arsene Wenger, given how keen he’s been to make the maximum from his unwanted stars this summer.

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