Arsene Wenger believes he has recruited a ‘real defender’ Gabriel Paulista - something the Arsenal manager claims cannot be said about David Luiz, a compatriot of his new acquisition.
Paulista joined Arsenal from Villarreal this week, in a deal worth a reported £15 million, and arrives at the Emirates Stadium in a bid to provide more options in a defence that has been ravaged by injuries.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are the only senior recognised centre-backs among Arsenal’s number and, with the inconsistencies of the former and chronic problems of the latter, Paulista may have to slot in immediately.
The Brazilian came as something of a left-field signing for Arsenal given the amount of alternative defenders the club had been linked with, but Wenger is happy indeed to have added Paulista to his troops.
Given the 24-year-old’s versatility there have been comparisons drawn to fellow Brazilian David Luiz, previously of Chelsea now at Paris Saint-Germain, but Wenger has assured Arsenal fans that Paulista is a defender they can rely on.
“Gabriel is a different style to David Luiz, who looked more as a defensive midfielder, rather than a centre-back, because of his level of concentration and his dynamic [play] going forward,” Wenger said.
"I think Gabriel is a typical defender. David Luiz you didn't know if he was a midfielder, as he had the potential always to play. Gabriel is a more typical defender.
“He is a real defender, who wants to defend."
Paulista has yet to make his international debut for Brazil but, should his move to Arsenal be a successful one, it could be that he ousts Luiz from his starting position alongside captain Thiago Silva.
Luiz became the most expensive defender in history when he left Chelsea for PSG for £50 million, but has failed to convince at the Parc des Princes despite this hefty price tag.