Arsenal’s reported interest in Villarreal centre-half Gabriel Paulista is becoming more credible by the hour.
The 24-year-old suggested he would be open to a move to the Emirates over the weekend.
Now El Submarino Amarillo boss Marcelinho has conceded his man could be sold this month, with the Gunners reported to be readying a £6m gambit.
Gabriel is 7/4 to sign for the Emirates outfit before the end of the winter transfer window – here’s the low down on what could be expected from him in a red shirt.
Having represented Villarreal 21 times during the 2013/14 campaign, his first in European football, the Brazilian began this term as player thought to be destined for big things in La Liga.
Last season he was a major part of the league’s sixth-best rearguard as Villarreal marked their return to the top flight with Europa League qualification.
This term his part in their parsimony continues, with the Madrigal side currently joint-third in the defensive standings having kept 14 clean sheets in 31 games.
The discrepancy between his mean tackles and interceptions per game is testament to the fact that his craft is founded upon excellent positioning and sound decision-making – two attributes which also aid in aerial battles.
Gabriel makes an average of just one dispossession per outing across La Liga and the Europa League in 2014/15, compared to a hefty 3.9 cut-outs.
Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s most prolific defensive distributor, makes around 51.2 passes every 90 mins in the Premier League this term.
The Villarreal man is marginally ahead of the BFG on 53 – completed at an 86.5 per cent success rate – suggesting he is more than capable of augmenting the Gunners’ ball-playing philosophy.
Unlike the German, however, he also possesses quick and sure feet enabling him to outmanoeuvre pressing attackers while in possession.
If Arsenal can bring in the 24-year-old for a £6m fee they may well snare themselves a rare silly season bargain.