Wenger backs Arsenal new boy Gabriel to thrive

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes new signing Gabriel Paulista has the characteristics necessary to be a success in the Premier League, explaining to the club’s official website official website why he signed the Villarreal defender.

Gabriel’s move was confirmed on Wednesday having left Brazilian club Vitoria for La Liga in the summer of 2013, helping the Yellow Submarine to sixth in the Primera at the time of his departure. Wenger revealed it was the ease with which Gabriel settled at El Madrigal that in part convinced him to make an approach.

“He has good pace, he’s good in the challenge and he’s tall – so he can adapt to English football,” the long-serving boss said. “Maybe it will take some time to adapt completely, but overall it’s very good to have him.

“He’s very ambitious, focused and serious. That’s important at a club like ours – you need to have a complete focus on your job. He has that,” Wenger continued. “I like the players who come from nowhere and show they can adapt. From Brazil, he has [then] adapted to Spain. That means he has already made it and adapted in another country. That’s another important quality.

“We needed some [defensive] cover, or we would not be responsible. [Gabriel] can play right-back and left-back, and that of course is a good quality as well,” the Frenchman acknowledged.

Gabriel, 24, made exactly 50 appearances for Villarreal, debuting in a November 2013 draw with future champions Atletico Madrid. He has yet to feature for the senior Brazil international side but did help Vitoria to twice win their Brazilian state championship, the Campeonato Baiano, and he himself was twice named the best defender in the competition, first in 2012 and then again in 2013.

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