Gabriel Paulista has only been at the club a short time, but he is already hugely popular among fans. He is beginning to emulate another fan favourite by the name of Laurent Koscielny, and his performances in an Arsenal shirt have seen many call for him to be starting alongside the Frenchman more often.
The signing of Gabriel Paulista in the January transfer window of the 2014/15 season was celebrated by Arsenal fans, who had been calling out for a quality centre-back for months. The Brazilian has certainly shown his quality since then, and he looks set to follow in the footsteps of Koscielny after his performance on Monday against Bournemouth. Paulista is of course a typical Wenger signing, in that he was scouted and followed for months before being snapped up for what looks now to be a bargain fee.
The image of Gabriel at the time of his signing was that of someone who would have significant language problems in England and could also struggle to acclimatise to the Premier League. Almost a year later, Gabriel has turned all that around and is fast becoming a real fan favourite. With his tweets such as the one which started the #OurHouseOurRules trend on Twitter, or with his run in with Chelsea striker Diego Costa- Gabriel has all the makings of an Arsenal cult hero.
— Gabriel Paulista (@gpaulista5) December 29, 2015
A tall, athletic defender with good ball control, aggression, and a desire to win trophies – this is the image of Gabriel Paulista now being projected. This description might as well have been describing Laurent Koscielny, and it would be great if Gabriel could even begin to emulate Koscielny in the years to come.
Both defenders have a similar style of play, with a deceptively good passing range and an eye for the occasional goal too – Gabriel having scored his first goal for the club on Monday against Bournemouth. Koscielny’s partnership with Mertesacker has been key for Arsenal’s defence as well as its attack, because the calm at the back combined with Koscielny’s explosive runs through midfield give Arsenal a much needed platform for the attack to build upon.
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Arsene Wenger has a long tradition of signing ball playing centre backs, and he certainly seems to have picked out another diamond from the rough with the signing of Paulista, who fits the bill very well. Fans will be hoping Gabriel keeps performing well and that he can turn into a regular starter beside Koscielny, as Mertesacker isn’t getting any younger (or faster).
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Koscielny is not only an accomplished defender but also a classy player who is loved by the fans, and Gabriel has taken steps in the same direction now.
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