Gabriel Paulista was allowed to join Valencia from Arsenal this summer, and the defender has come out to criticise his treatment before leaving North London.
The defender failed to secure a regular starting role in Arsene Wenger’s first-team, and the Brazilian claims that he was unfairly treated, and deserved more opportunity to prove himself.
The Valencia centre-back joined in January 2015, but was used sparingly in his opening season as he adjusted to his surroundings, but started the following campaign as a regular in the starting line-up. Unfortunately Gabriel failed to prove his consistency to the people in charge as well as those watching at home, and over time fell down the pecking order.
The 26 year-old believes his treatment was unfair however, although I would argue against his point…
‘I deserved more of an opportunity,’ he said. ‘Sometimes I played because my team-mates were injured. I did play and sometimes even after playing well, I’d go home sad, given that I was only playing because my team-mate was injured. I don’t think I deserved that.
‘I think I had the ability to play and to start games because I deserved to do so, or because I did well in training, but that didn’t happen.
‘Sometimes I’d play three or four games and if Arsenal lost, I’d be dropped and everyone on the outside would say, “It’s Gabriel’s fault.’
‘That wasn’t good for me. People thought, ‘When that guy plays, Arsenal always lose.’ When [Hector] Bellerin got injured, I played at right-back and Arsenal started to lose.
‘I think I played in four or five games en route to the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and I played brilliantly in that game. I played really well and I received plenty of praise. Then I think we faced Tottenham away and lost, I gave away a penalty in that game and lost my place in the team. I didn’t play again.
‘I played in the last Premier League game because everyone was injured, all the centre-backs were out… I was quite down about how it went because of these reasons and it didn’t sit well with me.’
Did Paulista have more than enough opportunities to prove his worth? Did he impress anyone? Was it just me or did he only begin to impress in a back three?