Explore the career of former Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista and his current challenges at Valencia.
- Gabriel Paulista’s time at Arsenal saw mixed success, with moments of brilliance overshadowed by inconsistency and struggles with injuries.
- Following his move to Valencia, Gabriel initially impressed but has since faced difficulties in maintaining a consistent role in the team.
- As his future at Valencia remains uncertain, Gabriel’s resilience and determination will be key in overcoming his current challenges and finding success in the next stage of his career.
As football fans, we often wonder what happens to the players who once donned our favourite team’s jersey. Gabriel Paulista, a Brazilian centre-back, is one such player who once showed promise at Arsenal but now finds himself grappling with an uncertain future at Valencia.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 26, 1990, Gabriel Armando de Abreu, better known as Gabriel Paulista, started his professional football career with Vitoria, a Brazilian Serie A club. He made over 70 appearances for the club and earned a reputation as a strong and aggressive defender.
In August 2013, Villarreal signed Gabriel for an undisclosed fee, and he went on to make 37 appearances for the Spanish side.
It was in January 2015 that Arsenal came calling, acquiring Gabriel for a reported fee of around £11.2 million.
Arsenal manager at the time, Arsène Wenger, had high hopes for the young Brazilian. He believed that Gabriel possessed the qualities to become a top defender in the English Premier League.
Wenger acknowledged Gabriel’s potential but also emphasised the need for him to improve his English to better communicate with his teammates.
Gabriel’s time at Arsenal can be described as a mixed bag.
He made 64 appearances and scored one goal for the Gunners over two-and-a-half seasons.
However, his time in North London was marred by inconsistency, as well as criticism for his decision-making and impulsive tackles. Despite the setbacks, Gabriel had his moments at Arsenal, such as a memorable performance against Everton in October 2015, where he helped secure a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory.
During his time in England, Gabriel experienced both highs and lows. He was part of the squad that won the FA Cup in 2015 and the Community Shield in 2015 and 2017. However, he also endured a challenging period in the 2016-2017 season, with injuries and fierce competition for a starting spot in the team.
In August 2017, Arsenal sold Gabriel to Valencia for an estimated £10 million.
His arrival at the Spanish club was seen as a positive move, with Valencia hoping to capitalise on his potential. In his first season with Los Che, Gabriel established himself as a solid defender, forming an effective partnership with Ezequiel Garay.
He made 36 appearances in all competitions and played a significant role in helping Valencia qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Unfortunately, Gabriel’s form took a downward turn in the following seasons.
Injuries, inconsistency, and managerial changes at Valencia all contributed to his diminishing role in the team. Valencia’s coaching staff have tried different defensive combinations, leaving Gabriel’s role uncertain.
Despite his current challenges, Gabriel still has the opportunity to provide valuable service to Valencia. As one of the few remaining members of the 2019 Copa del Rey-winning squad, his experience could prove vital in helping the team navigate their current difficulties.
Head coach Baraja recognises the importance of Gabriel’s contribution, particularly in bolstering the defence and preventing goals.
However, Gabriel’s temperament has occasionally proven to be a hindrance. In one instance this season, his impulsive behaviour led to a red card at the Bernabéu.
With his future at Valencia unclear, even if the club manages to maintain their league position, one wonders what the next step in his career will be now that he is 32.
Looking back at Gabriel’s time at Arsenal, it is evident that his career has been marked by moments of brilliance and periods of struggle. While he showed flashes of his potential in the Premier League, he ultimately failed to establish himself as a consistent and reliable defender for the Gunners.
As he approaches the twilight of his career, it remains to be seen what the next chapter holds for this enigmatic defender.