Kieran Gibbs has told Arsenal’s official website that he believes fellow defender Gabriel Paulista will have few problems adapting to the Premier League because of his penchant for getting stuck into a challenge.
Gabriel, 24, arrived at Arsenal last month from Villarreal for around £11.3 million, per The Guardian, having established himself among the top centre-backs in La Liga during his one-and-half seasons with El Submarino Amarillo.
The Brazilian made his debut in the weekend’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Middlesbrough and, after a composed performance, Gibbs is sure his new teammate is more than cut out for English football.
“He came in on his debut and did extremely well,” Gibbs said. “He looks like he has been playing at this level for a long time. He has settled in straight away which is good for us.
“One of the biggest things that I’ve realised from him is that he embraces the physical side of the game. That’s what we want from a centre half.”
Manager Arsene Wenger caused some initial concern last week after declaring that Gabriel might struggle during his first few months at the Emirates Stadium due to his lack of English, but Gibbs has explained how the squad have been helping him understand his defensive assignments thus far.
"He doesn’t speak any English at the moment and it was the same with Alexis when he came,” he added. “It won’t take him long. We’ve brushed him up on a few of the sayings for him to get used to.
“In training and stuff in the week, Steve Bould goes through it with him with one of the Spanish boys, who then translates what it means in English so he understands when it is said to him on the pitch. That’s what it starts from and to get a good understanding it is important.”
With Arsenal’s backline hit with injuries over the first half of the season, Gabriel’s introduction adds some much-needed depth for the crucial months ahead, as the club compete for the Champions League, FA Cup and a top-four finish.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker will likely remain the first-choice centre-back pairing for the moment but, with the fixtures soon set to pile up, there will be numerous opportunities for the former Vitoria product to prove his worth in the near future.