Official: Arsenal to announce deal for 26-year star

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Arsenal are close to confirming their fourth first-team departure of the summer with Gabriel Paulista said to be closing in on a move to Valencia.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the Gunners’ squad numbers are too high and that there will be a number of departures before the end of the ongoing summer transfer window.

Gabriel arrived from Villarreal during the January transfer window in 2015 but is yet to nail down a regular spot in the starting XI. He has remained a back up to first choice centre-back pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and fell further behind following the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi and the emergence of Rob Holding.

The 26-year-old Brazilian made just 15 starts in the Premier League last season and with five other centre-backs at Wenger’s disposal, he has been deemed surplus to requirements. Gabriel did impress when he was deployed as a right sided centre-back and also while playing as a right-back at times.

According to Spanish publication Marca, the Gunners defender is close to a move to the La Liga outfit with the clubs agreeing on a fee of around £10m ($12.8m). Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral is said to be keen to reunite with Gabriel with whom he worked during his stint as the manager of Villarreal.

The La Liga club released a teaser video on their official Twitter account showing the club preparing the jersey for the new arrival. They hinted that it was Gabriel, as they showed three letters all part of his name being prepared on the club’s home shirt.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are continuing their efforts to offload players, not in the manager’s plans and Mathieu Debuchy could be the next out of the doors with Marseille said to be interested. The French defender has been linked with a move away since last summer but has been unable to secure a transfer thus far.

He made just one appearance in the Premier League last season and is behind Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a slot in the right wing-back position in Wenger’s new 3-4-2-1 formation. According to France Football, Marseille are keen to sign him as a challenger for current first-choice right back Hiroki Sakai.

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