Could Arsenal be halfway through a defensive reshuffle?
When Gabriel Paulista was signed by Arsenal from Villarreal in January, it seemed the 24-year-old had been brought to the Emirates to add defensive cover for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
After just four matches for the Gunners, Gabriel looks like the real deal, with Mertesacker’s long-term place in the starting line-up sure to be questioned. But could Koscielny also be on his way out?
It may seem bizarre to say so, but following reports linking Arsenal with a summer move for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Neven Subotic there could be an argument to be had that Gabriel’s signing was only half the jigsaw.
At just 26, the Serbian international will not move on unless regular first-team football is guaranteed, and with ESPN reporting that Arsenal want him to further strengthen their defence, it could be a case of all-change this summer.
Mertesacker and Koscielny still have much to offer, as their fine performance against Manchester United on Monday evening proved. But if the Gunners want to push on both domestically and in Europe it would be no surprise if manager Arsene Wenger looked for the best possible defensive partnership.
Gabriel and Subotic could be that, provided the North London club’s reported interest in the latter is true.
Either way, there is no doubt Wenger will know he is on the verge of having a great team again, and he will not want to miss out on sustained success by not covering all bases.
With his forward line and midfield looking great, is the defence about to be redesigned?