The arrival of the Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista will be an immediate boost to the Arsenal team, as the players he could replace will all have to up their game – to try and hang on to their starting places. Wenger put them on the alert straight away when he suggested that Paulista could even be in the squad for the Aston Villa game on Sunday. Wenger said: ” The only difference is that Gabriel is available and we’ll check him how he is physically but he should be alright to be available.”
I seriously doubt that the Brazilian will actually play as he has been flying all over Europe this week, but just his presence on the bench should have an effect, and the Arsenal defensive legend Martin Keown believes that it is Per Mertesacker who should be the one looking over his shoulder. Keown said in the Mail when asked about the arrival of Paulista: “It’s an interesting signing because it’s an area that Wenger has wanted to strengthen. It’s a big amount of money and if you spend that much money you would expect him to be straight in the team.
“I think for Mertesacker there’s no room now for any indifferent performances, because he has had a few and still been in the team. In my day as soon as you had a bad game you were out because of the quality waiting in the wings.
“There’s been a few times this season when he hasn’t been dominant or mobile enough. Paulista may have to be patient but he is going to get a chance and if he gets a chance he will stay in. But the question marks are over Mertesacker rather than Koscielny.
“The German needs a dozen outstanding games to keep his place, but if he does, Arsenal will end up in the Champions League. And that’s the effect you want from any new signing. You want them to improve everybody’s performances.”
In my opinion, we all know that Mertesacker was not at his best after returning from the World Cup, but he has played in nearly every game for the Gunners this season, with ever-changing partners in the back four. I believe that the main reason Wenger brought in Gabriel was because of the ongoing concerns about Koscielny’s achilles injuries. I predict that the Frenchman will only be available for half of the rest of the games this season with Paulista partnering Mertesacker in the rest…
What do you think?