Arsene Wenger did not come right out and say that our new Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista, signed from the Spanish club Villarreal for an undisclosed fee this week, would not be in the Arsenal starting line-up that runs out on to the Emirates pitch to face Aston Villa on Sunday.
But when you look at what the Frenchman did say about the versatile 24-year old in his pre-match press conference, reported by Arsenal.com, it seems clear that Wenger is not ready to throw the young player in at the deep end, straight from La Liga into the Premier League with no time to catch his breath.
Maybe if the transfer had gone through more smoothly, or at least quicker, and Gabriel had had most of this week to traind and get used to his new team mates and the way the Gunners want to play then he might have had a chance. But with Wenger talking about players, defenders especially, needing time to adapt and build an understanding with the players around you, as well as revealing that there is a communication issue with the new man not speaking even basic words in English, it is clear that starting him against Villa would be too much of a risk.
But the boss also had warm words of praise for his new Gunner and in talking up his qualities as well as reminding us about Koscielny’s Achilles problems, you would have to think it won’t be long and we could even see Paulista come on as a sub if the game is looking won.
Wenger said, “What I saw was a great quality for a defender. [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.
“You always need time to adapt, 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’!
“He’s a specialist at centre back because we’ve played many times this season with Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal out of position, who did quite well.
“But it gives us another specialist in this position. We now have three and with the fixtures we have in front of us that is needed.
“We are in a job where competition exists and people of the moment play. Form is swinging and as well nobody is absolutely in top form for 365 days so you have to accept that.”
Do you think Arsenal have done well to get Gabriel?