We are all very happy to see Gabriel Paulista arrive at Arsenal from Villarreal as much-needed defensive cover, but there seems to be some confusion about when he will actually be ready to play in the Gunners first team.
There were many headlines saying that Gabriel will go straight into the squad for today’s game against Aston Villa, after reading Arsene Wenger’s comments. “What I saw was a great quality for a defender,” the Boss said on Arsenal.com. “He has a good level of concentration, he’s physically able to adapt to the Premier League because he is quite a good size and he’s quick as well.
“He has great commitment in the challenges and he’s young. He’s 24 years old and that’s a good age for a central defender. He’s ready to go – he’ll be in the squad for Sunday certainly. He started training yesterday and he looks fit.”
But Arsene Wenger has also tempered that statement saying that the Brazilian will need to settle in and learn some English before he can be risked on the pitch. “You always need time to adapt,” Wenger continued. “Especially in a defensive position because you need to know your partners. At the moment he does not speak a word of English and that can cost you goals. If you mix going forwards with going backwards, it can cost you.
“It is a position where you need to know your partners and you need to communicate as well. We will try to teach him the important words. ‘Offside’ for example or ‘Look at the linesman’!”
Luckily it is not as desperate at the moment, as it was earlier in the season, to throw him on the pitch immediately, but for a player who was brought up in Portugese-speaking Brazil and then moved to Spain it will obviously take time to learn how to communicate with his defensive partners.
Gabriel will definitely be able to talk to Hector Bellerin, but the rest of our defenders (other than the BFG) are either French or English so he will certainly need time to learn the basics. How long do you think it will be before Wenger is really willing to risk putting him in the team?