Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has backed Gabriel Paulista to succeed at the Emirates, claiming that the language issues he faces are similar to those of sensational summer signing Alexis Sanchez when he first arrived, as reported by Sky Sports.
Having signed for the club this past January, Gabriel finally made his debut against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. He was hardly tested by Aitor Karanka’s side, but looked comfortable on the ball and stood up when tested.
Arsene Wenger has spoken multiple times about concerns he has over the Brazilian, claiming that his lack of English could prove a real problem.
Gibbs believes this is less of an issue however, and is confident that his new teammate will learn quickly.
“He has settled in straight away and embraces the physical side of the game. That is what we want from a centre-half,” he said.
“Gabriel doesn’t speak any English at the moment and it was the same with Alexis when he came.
“It won’t take him long. We have brushed him up on a few of the sayings for him to get used to.”
While the England international is probably right, his comments are actually less reassuring than you might initially think.
Alexis Sanchez has no doubt proved a superb signing, and has really hit the ground running in the Premier League. With 18 goals and a number of assists to his name already, the Chilean has been setting the league alight.
His success has been largely down to his individual quality however, and we have still seen at times that he is not always on the same wavelength as some of his teammates.
Gabriel cannot rely as much on his individual talents, and must focus on becoming part of a well oiled defensive unit. One mistake or stray pass from Sanchez, and the attack breaks down. One mistake or stray pass from Gabriel, and our opponents are gifted a goal-scoring opportunity.
Based on what little we saw of the 24-year-old against Middlesbrough, he looks likely to succeed at the Emirates. He could well go on to become a mainstay in our defence, but may need time to perfect his game.