Talk of Gabriel leaving Arsenal has died down, but the centre back could yet still leave Arsenal.
- Valencia were interested in Gabriel
- Gabriel hasn’t played as much as he’d like since joining the club in 2015
- Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal could be ahead of the Brazilian in pecking order
Last week, reports emerged that Valencia were interested in signing Gabriel but were put off by Arsenal’s asking price. Since then, talk of the defender leaving Arsenal had died down. Gabriel seems to want to stay at the club and it doesn’t appear that Arsenal are pushing the player out at all.
However, a look at the Brazilian’s situation suggests that could change very quickly. The change to a back three afforded him more playing time, but a knee injury picked up on the last day of the season ruled him out of the FA Cup final.
With Laurent Koscielny, Skhodran Mustafi and Rob Holding set to be Arsenal’s first-choice defenders next season, Gabriel will once again be sitting on the bench.
The former Villarreal centre-back was an unused substitute in 20 of Arsenal’s matches last season. He managed 27 appearances all season, a few of which were at right back. Since joining in January 2015, he’s only made 46 league starts from a possible 92 since his arrival at the club.
A tendency to commit fouls and pick up yellow cards could be a reason why Arsene Wenger has limited his playing time. According to WhoScored, Gabriel averages more than a foul per game, and accumulated six bookings – only Skhodran Mustafi picked up more.
Gabriel’s halfway through his contract, set to expire in 2019, so this season could be crucial in his Arsenal career. Another season playing backup may prompt the Brazilian to look elsewhere for more first team opportunities. If he wants to stay at Arsenal, he’ll have to convince Wenger that he can be reliable.