Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker praises Gabriel addition

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The Germany international has praised the addition of the former Villarreal defender during the January transfer window.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has praised the club’s signing of Brazilian defender Gabriel in an interview with the club’s website.

The Gunners signed the defender from La Liga side Villareal during the January transfer window for a reported fee of €15m, around £11.2m - according to the BBC - with winger Joel Campbell heading in the opposite direction on a short-term loan.

The South American has so far made five appearances for his new side and has impressed in all of them, earning praise for his overall speed and eagerness to defend. Now, his defensive colleague Mertesacker has praised the addition as it provides manager Arsene Wenger with added squad depth.

“Gabriel is an amazing addition for us,” said the defender.

“[Sometimes] I was the only centre back for the first half of the season and we had to fill that spot with fullbacks at times. We now have three centre backs and the manager has a good choice, he can rotate.”

One may have thought that the German defender wouldn’t be best pleased to see another defender joining the club, as it has the potential to limit his game time and potentially cost him his place in the side.

In fact, Mertesacker has come in for criticism this season for some of his performances, with many suggesting the defender should be replaced long-term. He, however, says the added rivalry is good as it raises the collective standard in north London.

“It was absolutely amazing to see him come in, he’s a great guy,” he added.

“He suffered an early injury but he came back quickly and he could deliver for the team after one month. It’s very important for the team to have that selection and rivalry, it raises everyone’s level.”

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