Arsenal Sign Gabriel Paulista: Primary Target Achieved
Many Arsenal fans can vividly remember that Arsene Wenger promised to get a replacement center back if Thomas Vermaelen left, because he stated that the former skipper needed to play football consistently and he wasn’t going stand in his way. Then Barcelona in their infinite wisdom and riches too, came around with £15m for the Belgian Verminator. The Gunners wrapped their captain in wool and fed him to the Spanish juggernauts.
With the Belgian gone, it was glaring that someone had to come in from the other direction. Going through the entire last season with just three center backs (or should I say two-and-a-half, the Verm was always injured) was suicidal but with the Belgian gone, Wenger bought Calum Chambers that would have served as a backup center back but Matt Debuchy’s injuries offered Chambers to play predominantly as a right back.
Then Laurent Koscielny’s Achilles tendons decided to be thorns in his flesh and they sideline him for a while. This forced Wenger to play Per Mertesacker in every bloody match with the likes of Nacho Monreal, Chambers and even Debuchy. The January window was on the horizon and fans wished for a DM and a CB, although there were those unrealistic fans that wanted a DM, a CB, Chuck Norris, Skullomania from Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat’s very own Sub Zero.
With Francis Coquelin stepping up the plate, even the most fervent ‘Buy-a-new-DM’ fans have been awed by his performance and wouldn’t mind if he continues. With Mikel Arteta signing an extension, one must wonder that Wenger still has his Coq in his plans.
Then there was the issue of the center back. Several names were mentioned but when Villarreal’s manager revealed that Arsenal wanted his young prodigy, Gabriel Paulista, many fans folded their arms and watched things unfold as there was the niggling issue of getting the lad a work permit but the Arsenal hierarchy kept a cool head and sorted everything out.
So what do you know about the new boy? He began his career with Brazilian outfit, EC Vitoria, making 130 appearances and scoring seven goals in a four-year stint before taking the bold step to move to Europe. He also received the individual award for the best defender in the Campeonato Baiano in 2012 and 2013. Like many South Americans, he’s a technically gifted player with raw reserves of pace and it’s also worth noting that he’s a very versatile lad, as he’s capable of playing a center back or a full back when the needs demands. He had some achievements in his brief stay at Villarreal but he would be fondly remembered to locking Diego Costa in a cage and throwing away the keys when Atletico faced the Yellow Submarines.
His arrival has been received well by the Emirates faithful and we eagerly anticipate seeing him in action.