Arsenal sign centre back Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal
Arsenal, 22/1 with Coral to win the Champions League, have completed their second piece of business in the transfer window after snapping up 24-year-old defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal.
Following his move, Paulista said: “I came from a club that is not that big in Brazilian football. I went to Spanish football and that was another dream come true, to play in Europe. A while ago I had a really huge desire to play in the Premier League, so since that point I put it in my head that I really wanted to do it. I had a talk with my family and I told them that it was my dream to play in the Premier League. Getting here to such a big club is so gratifying.
He continued: “I am arriving at a big club and the fans can expect to find a Gabriel with a great will to help everyone. Not just thinking of me as an individual, because to me that is not important. I care more about helping the team and my team-mates. I want to help everyone, so the fans can expect a Gabriel that on the field has a lot of will to be able to help the team win important things.”
It is understood that Paulista had €20m buy-out clause, however, the club were prepared to negotiate, and the total sum of the overall transfer is £14.4m which translates to €18m, however Villarreal have paid £1m back to Arsenal to loan Joel Campbell until the end of the season, meaning Arsenal have spent £13.4m.
It appears Wenger timed this move right. On the 7th of January €18m was worth the equivalent of £14.1m, though due to a drop in the rate of the euro, Arsenal have saved £700,000 while the Spanish club still receive their valuation.
The Gunners, who also snapped up 17-year-old Polish defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw for an undisclosed fee earlier in the transfer window, moved to sign the Brazilian with attacker Joel Campbell going the other way on loan for the rest of the season.
Arsene Wenger indicated that the player is versatile, saying: “Paulista is a central defender but he can also play on the flanks.
“He is tall and pacy. He has a good chance to adapt to English football. I see good potential in him.”
Paulista started his career at Brazilian oufit Esporte Clube Vitoria, where he made 77 appearances, scoring one goal and helping the side achieve promotion in his time there.
In La Liga, he has featured on 50 occasions, contributing one assist, however he is still very much a developing talent who Wenger thinks has the ability to take his game to a higher level and plying his trade in the Premier League can help in doing that.
Wenger currently has Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as his first choice centre back pairing, but, with the duo not getting any younger, Paulista could certainly be groomed to take over from the German in particular in the next couple of years, while there is still a decision to be made on what 20-year-old Calum Chambers’ best position is.
Following their fourth round FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion, Arsenal are now 5/2 favourites to retain the trophy they won last year, after the top two teams in the Premier League, Chelsea and Manchester City were eliminated from the competition.
Paulista’s first taste of silverware could be lifting one of the most well renowned trophies in the world, and he is also eligible to play in the Champions League, with the Gunners pushing ahead for success.