Gabriel Paulista pleased with reported Arsenal interest Getty

Villarreal manager Marcelino has admitted the club are willing to sit down with Arsenal to discuss the transfer of Gabriel Paulista.

Paulista, 24, has emerged as the Gunners' leading target in the January transfer window after manager Arsene Wenger made recruiting a new defender a priority.

The Brazilian revealed over the weekend his agent had been contact with the Gunners over a move this month but insisted he was remaining calm amid growing speculation over his future.

On Tuesday 20 January, Spanish radio station Onda Ser claimed Arsenal are ready to active Paulista's release clause, thought to be £15.25m.

And speaking to radio programme El Larguero, his current manager Marcelino admitted his side will listen to offers.

"I hadn't considered selling Gabriel, it is bad news from a sporting point of view," he said. "If both Gabriel and the club believe that his sale to Arsenal is the best for all parties, we will accept."

Following initial reports of Arsenal's interest, Paulista indicated he would be very interested in a "dream move" to the Premier League. His follow up comments at the weekend further fuelled talk of a move away from the Estadio El Madrigal but his manager is unperturbed by his player's recent outbursts.

"I wasn't upset by what Gabriel said. Every footballer has their own opinion. I'm not annoyed because it is his way of thinking and acting," Marcelino said.

"He's tremendously noble and an exemplary professional. His head is here and he wants to keep demonstrating his worth here. On a sporting level, we'd like him to stay but we need to see his view and what the proposal is."

Arsenal were forced to make the signing of another defender an absolute priority this month after Mathieu Debuchy was ruled out for three months after undergoing surgery on a dislocated shoulder.