Arsenal finally landed their much needed centreback this week.
Confirming the arrival of Gabriel from Villarreal this week, the 24-year-old Brazilian will likely go straight into the squad for the game against Aston Villa on Sunday at the Emirates but unless injury forces his hand, it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger will be giving the new boy his debut just yet.
Speaking to the media on Friday at his pre-match press conference, Wenger confirmed what convinced him to purchase the Villarreal captain – his stats.
“Gabriel has good stats.
“We look at interceptions, defensive errors, winning tackles, committing to win the ball, set-piece receptions, these kind of things. But the most important thing is through the eye.
“If the numbers confirm the eye, it gives you more.
“If a guy comes home and says ‘I’ve seen a good player,’ you can statistically observe this player for five, six, seven games. You send him again, he says he’s a good player, and the numbers confirm, then the risk is limited. Though there is always a risk.
“What I saw was great quality for a defender – his level of concentration, he is a good size and is quick as well, he has great commitment in the challenges and he is young.”
The Arsenal boss was also quick to deny that there would be any similarities between Gabriel and former Chelsea man, David Luiz.
“Gabriel is a different style to that.
“He is a more typical defender, a real defender, who wants to defend.
“When I was in Japan, I went to Sao Paulo and signed Alexandre Torres, who was the son of Carlos Alberto.
“And he was a very good centre-back.”
The stats that confirmed Gabriel would be a good buy were provided by a company called StatDNA and were used to back up the reports received by scouts.
They also happen to be a company Arsenal own, having purchased them at the end of 2012 for £2.165m.
The American company has a large Asian-based staff that provides detailed data which they bill as ‘the world’s most advanced soccer data and analytics’.
Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive, said of the company
“The company is an expert in the field of sports data performance analysis. The insights produced by the company are widely used across our football operations.”