Paulista ready to raise game to next level with Gunners

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 £15 million (€20m), was finally confirmed by Arsenal last night following completion of international clearance. Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell moved in the other direction on loan for the rest of the season.

Paulista, 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,” Paulista said.

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

Arsene 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 will be out to sustain their recent 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, is reported to have agreed a contract extension with the club.


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