January signing Gabriel Paulista claims he used to play as a striker, but soon realised he was destined to become a defender, as reported by the Express.
The 24-year-old was signed from Villarreal earlier this season, and has looked like an excellent acquisition during the handful of games he has played so far.
You would never guess by his performances that he used to be an attacker, but like many young players he had aspirations of playing further up the field.
“When we are little, we always want to be on the attack, but I realised that it wouldn’t work, so I kept going backwards and backwards,” he said.
“The only thing I didn’t try was being a goalkeeper. I stopped there.
- [Match Highlights] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – All The Highlights & Best Bits
- [Player Ratings] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – Ozil Wonder Goal Saves Boring, Boring Arsenal
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v Newcastle United – Wilshere & Lacazette Start In 4-2-3-1
“So I started to play in defence and I started to do well, I started to enjoy it. I made my decision, I thought: ‘This it is! I’m not leaving here’.
“I began enjoying it and I started to want to defend, to fight not to let them in, not to let the other team score goals.
“I always have that in my head – to want to defend, and defend well. And that is why.”
Gabriel got a surprise call up for the Brazilian national squad this week, with a number of established names being forced to withdraw.
He didn’t make an appearance during their 3-1 win over France, but will be hoping to earn his first cap against Chile this coming Sunday – a game which could see him line up against fellow Gunner Alexis Sanchez.
Fans have been crying out for a defensive signing for quite some time, and the former La Liga star already looks capable of being a success at the Emirates. He may not replace Per Mertesacker right away, but he certainly seems to be a potential long term partner for Laurent Koscielny.