Belfast Telegraph

Paulista ready to level up

Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista is confident he can take his game to the next level at Arsenal - and help deliver more silverware to the Emirates Stadium.

The 24-year-old's permanent transfer from Villarreal, said to be worth around £15million, was finally confirmed by Arsenal on Wednesday evening following completion of international clearance. Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell moved in the other direction on loan for the rest of the season.

Gabriel, who has yet to force his way into the Brazil national team, is relishing the challenges ahead for Arsene Wenger's side.

"I have only just arrived, but I am already feeling really good here in London. I am at a top club so that gives me more strength to be able to work and carry on, to be able to conquer much more in my career," Gabriel said in an interview with Arsenal Media.

"We have a lot to conquer because Arsenal is a very big club, we must always be at the top.

"I think it is a club that will keep growing throughout the season, and that over the next few years we will be able to win important titles."

The Brazilian added: "Arsenal is a very big team and it must always be competing for the biggest titles in the world."

Gabriel, though, accepts he will have to earn his place in the Arsenal defence, with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny the current first-choice pairing.

"I am coming to a very big club and I know that I will play with great players," he said.

"While respecting everyone, I want to play for my place in the team. I know that is not going to be easy, I must show my potential, I have to show that I can be in the group, that the manager can count on me.

"The same goes to all my team-mates. I will carry on the same way I have been since the beginning of my career. I have always respected everyone to get to where I am in my career, and I want even more.

"I am really looking forward to training with my new team-mates, to get to know everyone and to have a good start."

Gabriel is determined to repay the faith of Gunners boss Wenger.

"To me it is something big... I came on his request, on the coach's request. He asked to sign me and that gives me more strength and the will to be able to work," he said.

"I see that he is a coach that has been here for many years and this is important, not only for the team, but also for the club."

The defender continued: "I want to help everyone, so the fans can expect a Gabriel that on the field has a lot of will to be able to help the team win important things."

Wenger indicated last week should the deal go through for Gabriel, which was signed off via a work permit hearing, that would not necessarily mean the end of the club's January transfer business.

Arsenal already moved for promising teenage Poland midfielder Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw and may yet look to bring in some more experienced cover.

The Gunners, who secured a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday with a 3-2 win at Brighton, will be out to sustain their Barclays Premier League improvement against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Midfielder Jack Wilshere has stepped up his rehabilitation after ankle surgery, but is still a few weeks away from a return.

Captain Mikel Arteta is also sidelined, probably at least until the end of March following an operation on his ankle problem.

The 32-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Everton on deadline day in August 2011, is reported to have agreed a contract extension with the club.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph