Gabriel Paulista is playing Champions League football while Unai Emery’s Arsenal look set to miss out on Europe’s premiere club competition once again.
Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes the Gunners made a mistake selling Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista, while speaking to BT Sport (27 November, 5:00pm).
Despite boasting 21 trophies and 147 international caps between them, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz look like the antithesis of a reliable central defensive partnership right now with Unai Emery’s struggling side more vulnerable than ever at the back.
Arsenal were very fortunate not to lose heavily to a relegation threatened Southampton side at the Emirates last time out, conceding a whole host of chances to a team who were battered 9-0 just a matter of weeks ago.
While Luiz and Soktratis are playing some of the worst football of their career in red and white, Rob Holding is yet to rediscover the kind of form which had some tipping him to be a future Arsenal captain and Calum Chambers remains worryingly error prone.
And Keown believes that, if Arsenal could turn back the clock, they might have had seconds thoughts about letting Gabriel join Valencia in 2017 for as little as £10 million.
“I’d have kept him, put it that way,” the three-time Premier League winner said as Gabriel’s Valencia took on Chelsea in the Champions League.
“I thought he was better than what they had already.”
Gabriel was never really given a run of games at the heart of Arsenal’s backline but, when he did play, the former Villarreal stopper showcased the kind of rapid pace and commanding aerial strength that Arsenal are currently crying out for.