In hearing for a work permit, Arsenal successfully argued that he was a player of the “highest calibre” who could “contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in England” which astounded the Home Office, approving of the permit for the player.
Gabriel Paulista was born in Sao Paulo and joined Esporte Clube Vitoria, making his first senior appearance against Flamengo aged 19. He became a key member of the Brazilian side before making a switch to La Liga and Villarreal in 2013. He has made 22 appearances this season, shining in the back line for the side, who lie sixth in the league. Let’s see what he can bring.
Just like any Brazilian, Gabriel (as he likes to be called by fans) is technically fantastic. Paulista is known for having excellent feet, showing confidence on the ball. This is almost the exact credentials you need to be in the Arsenal team nowadays so that’s certainly a plus straight off the bat.
Gabriel is certainly no tiny centre-back. At 6ft,1.5inches, he is certainly a force in the air and gives Arsenal even more aerial threats and gives another option for a corner other than Per or Giroud.
Is he good enough?
Statistically, Paulista is one of the top defenders in La Liga this season. He has one of the top interceptions and clearance rates in the league and also has a higher tackles per game rating than Arsenals BFG, making 0.7 tackles a game.
He is known to be a calming influence on the back line, keeping it simple and not rushing passes. If there’s any sign of danger he is not afraid to clear the ball. One ill note however is that he is somewhat unproven. He is currently in the process of his first good season at Villarreal so it is somewhat of a gamble to sign the player.
How’s his passing?
His passing however is somewhat of a weakness. He keeps it simple on the ball which isn’t a bad thing, just not a typical Arsenal attribute. It’s a limitation but certainly not a problem.
Where can he play?
He is an incredibly versatile player, capable of playing in the centre and on either side of defence. This versatility is great for the Gunners looking at their recent injury list.
It looks as though Wenger has signed a real consistent force at the back and should do more than a job for the Gunners. He will hopefully settle quickly and with his mate Santi Cazorla at the club, it will make the start even easier for him.