More than 84 hours since Villareal sent Gabriel Paulista, the move is yet to be made official by the club leaving Gooners fearing a breakdown may have occurred.
That does not seem to have happened though as the fine details of the player’s European documents are in the final stages of being sorted with the player being sent to France to complete his documentation, per the Daily Star.
All reliable sources have confirmed that a deal has been all but done for the defender to become an Arsenal player, and that he will be ready in time for the Gunners opening game of February at home to Aston Villa. Gabriel has cost in excess of £11.3m and will be handed the Number 5 jersey vacated by ex-captain Thomas Vermaelen.
The 24-year old Brazilian is Arsene Wenger’s second signing of this winter window and could be the last to come in, but the time it has taken for his arrival to be announced will only raise expectations when he finally starts playing. There have been various assessments from various quarters on what his contribution will be in the Arsenal team and while most believe he is of the required talent, he is not expected by a sizeable population of opinionates to be an instant hit.
Unlike Bielik, he is a player bought to fill an immediate demand in the team and while he may not be involved at all against Villa, bar maybe a place on the bench, he will have two more games in Leicester against Spurs before a possible start maybe handed him against Middlesborough in the FA Cup although that will be in doubt as well as Wenger will know well the threat they will be ready to pose.
Last weekend’s fourth round tie against Brighton saw the deployment of Nacho Monreal in central defence and gooners will be hoping that would have been the last of such emergency plug action. The nominal left back has had to be used in that unfamiliar role and while he has not been a total disaster, the lack of the natural awareness and toughness required to play in such a demanding role means a real defender was always going to be needed, and in Paulista, Wenger has settled for one who seems to fit the demand.
His season record at Villareal speaks for itself and though the Premier League will represent a big step up, it is not something that should faze him an awful lot. And for Arsenal fans who might be quick to criticize his every move, they would have to give him time to adapt, even as they did to Koscielny who had been an errant rash boy from the French Second Division, but is now fondly known as Bosscielny.
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