Arsenal's new major January signing Gabriel Paulista feels confident that he can make a positive impact at the club almost immediately, helping them improve after an indifferent start to the season.
Arriving from Villarreal for a fee in excess of £10million yesterday the centre-back looked delighted to made a lucrative switch to the Premier League, telling Arsenal's official website: “It’s another dream in my career that has come true.”
The 24-year-old believes that he can take his game to the next level, insisting: “I am very anxious and that is something that is normal to a young player, playing at such a high level. So I am very anxious to be able to start.”
“I’m at a top club so that gives me more strength to be able to work and carry on, to be able to conquer much more in my career.
Challenging for places
Gabriel is relishing the challenge for places in the team with Mertesacker and Koscielny as first choice pairing at centre back and accepts that he will have to fight for his place, “I know that I will play with great players. While respecting everyone, I want to play for my place in the team.”
“I know that is not going to be easy, I must show my potential, I have to show that I can be in the group, that the manager can count on me. The same goes to all my team-mates.”
Forthright in his assessment of the season so far the Brazilian, who can also play as a full-back if needed, believes that Arsenal are yet to play to their potential. The few games I have watched and witnessed, during the season, I saw that there is room for improvement. Over the next few years we will be able to win important titles."
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Wenger's influence is important
Like many other Arsenal signings Gabriel credits Gunners boss Arsene Wenger with convincing him to join the club and is determined to repay the faith placed in him by the hugely experienced tactician.
Gabriel said: “To me it’s something big… I came on his [Wenger's] request. He asked me to sign and that gives me more strength and the will to be able to work.”
Wenger appears to be happy with the signing, praising his ambition focus and strength.
After finally landing important cover in the centre of defence, “He has good pace, he’s good in the challenge and he’s tall - so he can adapt to English football.”
Arsene Wenger told Arsenal media, “He’s very ambitious, focused and serious. that’s important at a club like ours.”
Indicating his love for unearthing gems from smaller clubs the Arsenal manager said, “I like the players who come from nowhere and show they can adapt. From Brazil he adapted to Spain. He has already adapted in another country. That’s another important quality.”
Arsenal revealed earlier today that Gabriel has been handed the number five shirt vacated by former captain Thomas Vermaelen last summer.
Its taken six months too long but Wenger finally has his replacement for the Belgian international, who will more than likely go straight into the squad for this weekend's clash with Aston Villa.