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Arsenal complete transfer of Gabriel Paulista


Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Arsenal have completed the signing of 24-year old centre back Gabriel Paulista on a long-term contract for an undisclosed price thought to be in the region of £13.4m. Gabriel was granted a work permit despite not being capped by Brazil, with Arsenal arguing that he is an "exceptional talent".

Gabriel joins from Villarreal, where he only joined in August 2013, playing a total of 50 times in two seasons. Before Villarreal, Gabriel played for Vitória in Brazil, where he was the Campeonato Bainao defender of the year in 2012 and 2013.

In Gabriel, who can play left back and right back, Arsene Wenger sees a defender who is quick and competitive, but is not a complete sure thing at the top level. In that sense, he is very similar to Laurent Koscielny, who also joined when he was 24 about to turn 25, and was relatively inexperienced at the top level, as well has being quick and strong but prone to some errors. He's become one of the best defenders in the Premier League, and while Gabriel is only expected to be backup right now, if he can emulate Koscielny, £13.4m will be a cheap price to pay.