Per Mertesacker was dropped for our 2-0 win over Everton this past weekend, and Arsene Wenger claims his first team spot is under threat from new boy Gabriel Paulista, as reported on Arsenal‘s official website.
The BFG put in a shocking performance against AS Monaco in our disappointing Champions League clash, and while the team was poor as a whole, he was arguably responsible for both the first two goals.
Gabriel put in a solid performance on his full Premier League debut, and fans are already calling for him to replace the giant German.
Wenger would neither confirm nor deny that this would be the case, but it seems likely that the Brazilian will keep his place for our trip to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers.
“Like everybody, we are all here to serve the club and raise it above our own interest,” the manager said.
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“Per has played many games, has a fantastic mentality, he has great mental stature, absolutely remarkable, and his contribution to the team has been excellent up to now.
“But I cannot tell you [if he will be back in the side], I have not decided yet. Honestly.”
When asked if Gabriel was ready to stake a claim to a first team spot, Wenger was adamant that the £11.3m signing was more than capable of displacing Mertesacker from the starting lineup.
“We bought him for that and of course that’s what the target is for him,” the manager added.
“His English is not perfect yet but he understands more than he speaks.
“He has shown that he’s a defender who’s committed, focused and can integrate well into our defensive system. For a first game it was a very positive one.”
He is likely to take a little while to fully settle at the Emirates, and we may see the odd mistake creep into his game until he is fully comfortable with his new teammates. He looks to be a fantastic signing however, and could be a long term solution to our defensive issues.