by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger thinks January signing Gabriel has a huge future at the club, and backs him to become a ‘top player’.
Gabriel joined the club in an £11M deal from Villarreal back in January as we badly needed reinforcements at the back.
The first half of the season saw Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal both fill in at centre-back while Laurent Koscielny was injured.
Arriving at the club in January, Gabriel arrived as long overdue cover for the Frenchman but struggled to break into the team.
With Koscielny returning opportunities were few and far between for the Brazilian, who made eight appearances in his first half season in London.
Only four of those appearances saw the new signing complete 90 minutes – but Wenger says he will become more crucial in his first full season at Emirates Stadium.
“I believe Gabriel will be a revelation,” said the Arsenal manager.
“I am convinced he will be a top player and we’ll see more of him next season.”
The Brazilian was called up to the national team in March but is yet to be capped.
He is sure to get more opportunities next season, and time is on his side.
Per Mertesacker will turn 31 in September, while Laurent Koscielny turns 30 around the same time.
At just 24, Gabriel will have plenty of chances to make a first-team spot at Arsenal his own.
But he isn’t the only one.
“As well, I don’t like to forget players like Calum Chambers who had a very good start to the season and who will come back to a very good level,” Wenger added.
Chambers and Gabriel will both have more opportunities to prove themselves at the centre of the Arsenal next season.
One of them could even become first choice in time – it’s certainly a battle to keep an eye on over the coming season.