Gabriel Armando de Abreu by JA
From Wikipedia – Born in São Paulo, Gabriel graduated from Esporte Clube Vitória’s youth setup, and made his senior debut on 7 March 2010, starting in a 3–1 win at Camaçari for the Campeonato Baiano championship. He made his Série A debut on 15 May, replacing Vilson in a 1–1 home draw against Flamengo.
In August 2010, Gabriel appeared in both matches of 2010 Copa do Brasil finals against Santos FC, but playing as a right back. He made his first team breakthrough in late 2011, and went on to play a crucial role in the following year, appearing in 35 matches as Leão returned to Série A.
On 6 September 2012 Gabriel signed a contract extension with Vitória, until 2016. He was elected the best central defender of 2013 Campeonato Baiano, being also crowned champions.
On 15 August 2013 Gabriel moved to La Liga outfit Villarreal, signing a five-year deal with the club. He made his debut in the competition on 10 November, starting in a 1–1 home draw against Atlético Madrid.
So Arsenal can finally boast four centre-backs within the range of ‘top quality’ to ‘promising’. The Official Villarreal twitter handle yesterday confirmed that an agreement in principal for Gabriel Paulista had been brokered with Arsenal FC, and last night Wenger himself said about the deal: “It’s on the line and I think we’ll get over the line tonight and tomorrow.” Its great news for Arsenal fans all over the world who will be pleased to know that we can finally boast four fully fit centre-backs.
So now the question is; Where does Gabriel play? The quick answer one will get (especially on Just Arsenal News) is “put Mertesacker on the bench”. It’s the most convenient answer anyway. But the truth is, we just can’t drop our BFG. We actually need to be looking for his replacement (we all know Paulista is a Koscielny type) Personally, I think Chambers cuts the mustard as Mertesacker 2.0, but there could be someone better out there.
In my view, our best centre-back partnership is Mertesacker and one of Paulista and Koscielny. Second best would be Chambers and one of the two. But I like a good debate. Let me hear from y’all.
Enjoy your week…