The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United is poised to be ramped up with Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal set to hijack the Gunners’ bid to land Gabriel Paulista.
The Brazilian centre back is reportedly on the brink of signing with the Emirates club after advanced negotiations but Van Gaal is hoping a last ditch £16m bid will turn the 24-year-old’s head.
Paulista joined Villarreal in 2013 and has put in a number of impressive displays in La Liga to earn admiring glances from a number of clubs.
In an uncharacteristic move for Wenger, the Arsenal manager was one of the first to cement his interest with a solid bid but apparent hesitancy over the price looks to have given Van Gaal a chance.
The United manager is desperate to enhance his defensive options and while it is understood that Borussia Dortmund captain Mats Hummels is his primary target the World Cup winner is likely to remain with BVB until the summer at least.
Wenger is seemingly aware of United’s interest and reiterated his desire to complete a deal in the coming days, saying: “We want the player and don’t necessarily want to do it in the summer – we have to try and sort it out now.
“We are ready to pay the price for a player if he is good enough. If the price is right, we will pay.”
United’s defence are expecting an easy time of it against Cambridge in the FA Cup tonight – a game they are priced as 2/9 favourites to win – but if Van Gaal’s men are to deliver a top four finish in the Premier League defensive reinforcing is a must.
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