Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista could be set for a return to La Liga this summer, with Valencia manager Marcelino admitting an interest in the centre-back.
According to the Evening Standard, Valencia are looking to bolster their defence ahead of the new season and have a number of players on their shortlist. Along with Inter Milan’s Jeison Murillo and FC Porto’s Ivan Marcano, Arsenal’s Gabriel is believed to be coveted by the manager, who admitted:
“I think they (Muriollo, Marcano, Gabriel) are possible. We’re talking about important players who already know our league. They speak Spanish, and that’s important, so their adaptation would be very quick,” said Marcelino.
Gabriel was signed by Arsenal from Villarreal in January 2015 for around £11m, but hasn’t managed to nail down a starting place and is currently recovering from a knee injury. The Brazilian is also believed to have struggled learning the English language.
He made just 15 Premier League starts for Arsenal last season, finding himself behind Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny in the pecking order, and then behind Rob Holding too when the Gunners switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation late into the campaign.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted his side are bloated and will sell more players this summer as a result, so Gabriel could be the man given the boot.
With the likes of Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal all able to play centre-back for Arsenal, Gabriel’s playing time could be limited in 2017/18, especially if his fitness levels upon returning are considerably lower than his competition.