So we’ve actually bought a central defender!
After a lot of frustration from Arsenal fans in the summer from not replacing Thomas Vermaelen, we’ve bought Villarreal’s Gabriel “Don’t just call him Paulista” Paulista for a little over £11 million, with Joel Campbell going the other way on loan until the summer.
Our second signing of the window has been a regular for Villarreal this season appearing in 29 games in all competitions.
The currently uncapped Brazilian started his career with Vitória before moving to Spain in August 2013.
He’s been praised for his high energy levels, his ability to put his body on the line at the back and his high rate of interceptions and clearances.
He’s also been part of a defence that has helped his team to an unbeaten run of 15 games, while keeping eight clean sheets in the process. It sounds like he’s in the Koscielny mould of defending so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in.
We’ve been crying out for another centre back since our old captain left for Barcelona in the summer, now one has arrived I’d expect him to be pushing on for a starting place.
With concerns over the fitness of Koscielny and the overall form of Mertesacker it’s safe to say he’ll get a fair few games this season. Another plus is he wouldn’t be cup-tied for the Champions League having only featured in the Europa League with Villareal this season.
Gabriel has also featured at right and left back at times which will probably be useful with our record of keeping fullbacks fit.
Let’s hope he settles into the squad and Premier League quickly and fairs a lot better than our last Brazilian defender, Andre Santos.
Coupled with the arrival of Krystian Bielik earlier in the window and with the best part of a week left of the window, is there time for Arsene to get the cheque book out one last time?
I wouldn’t rule it out