Gabriel Paulista looks to be an absolutely fantastic signing, and a much needed one at that. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have obviously developed a superb partnership, but neither player is able to play every game of the season; especially with the Frenchman’s recent ankle injury.
Our new acquisition is likely to take some time to bed in however, and I believe he could cost us a few goals as he seeks to develop an understanding with his new teammates.
Arsene Wenger himself admitted the 24-year-old may take some time to adapt, and claims his lack of English could prove a huge stumbling block.
“You always need time to adapt, especially in a defensive position because you need to know your partners,” he said.
“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.”
He is unlikely to learn a new language over night, so this will no doubt be a problem the Brazilian will face for some time. Despite recognising the obvious obstacle though, Wenger insists Gabriel is ready for first team action.
“He started training yesterday and he looks fit,” said the club’s manager prior to the weekend’s victory over Aston Villa.
The language barrier should be the least of his worries as far as I’m concerned however, with the time it will take for him to adapt to the Premier League weighing far heavier on my mind.
Much like Koscielny, Gabriel at times relies on his agility and tackling ability to get him out of sticky situations. But as we saw when the 29-year-old first joined the club, the Premier League is far less forgiving than a number of other top leagues.
If thrown in at the deep end, it’s highly possible that Gabriel will be unprepared for the potential onslaughts he is likely to face at the hands of our Premier League opposition. He may be caught out of position, throw himself into tackles he shouldn’t, or leave his teammates unnecessarily exposed.
I have all the faith in the world that the talented young defender will eventually come good in an Arsenal shirt, and could go on to be a mainstay in our defence for years. For the moment however, we have to be patient and accept that, just like a number of his predecessors, Gabriel Paulista may initially prove to be the problem rather than the solution as he looks to settle into his new surroundings.