Arsenal have confirmed the signing of 24-year old center back Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal for a reported fee of a 15.2m.
The Gunners have tied him down to a long-term deal that will keep him at the club until 2019 after securing his work permit.
Arsenal’s defense has been stretched this season as manager Arsene Wenger has had to use Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy in the center of the defense despite the trio being full backs. Arsenal failed to sign a center back after selling Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona in the summer transfer window and that has come back to haunt them as they haven’t had a good season defensively thanks to some substandard displays.
Paulista, who was a regular for Villarreal, revealed that he was delighted to sign for a big club like Arsenal, “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.
“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,” Paulista told Arsenal’s official website.
Paulista is predominantly a center back but can play in the full back positions as well after having done so for Villarreal. The 24-year old was signed by Villarreal for a 3.3m after the Yellow submarine regained promotion to the La Liga in 2013 and since then he has had a stellar one and half year. The fee might seem a bit high for someone who is yet to represent his country, but some impressive displays for Arsenal, if Paulista gets his chance, will definitely make the Brazilian management stand up and take notice. He made 19 appearances for Villarreal in the La Liga before signing for Arsenal.