Valencia have completed the £10m ($12.8m) signing of Gabriel Paulista from Arsenal. The Brazilian defender put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Mestalla Stadium on Friday (18 August), a deal that includes a buyout clause worth a lofty €80m (£73m). As per Valencia, Gabriel, obviously not eligible to feature for Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side tonight in their La Liga clash with Las Palmas, will be presented to the media tomorrow. The 26-year-old centre-back follows Neto, Nemanja Maksimovic, Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana as Los Che’s fifth recruit of the summer transfer window to date. Arsenal also confirmed the deal in a statement released via their official website that reads: “Gabriel has joined Valencia for an undisclosed fee. The Sao Paulo-born defender made a total of 64 appearances for us, following his arrival from Villarreal in January 2015.
“For many supporters, his finest performance in an Arsenal shirt came in last season’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, when his aerial dominance and tough tackling helped put us on our way to the final. “We would like to thank Gabriel for his contribution to the club and to wish him well for his return to La Liga with Valencia.” Briefly stopped by reporters at the airport on Thursday as he arrived in Valencia to complete his medical, Gabriel, according to Spanish publication Marca, said: “I am very happy, I have spoken to Marcelino several times and I understand how he works.” Gabriel dealt with numerous injury issues and failed to establish himself as a first-team regular during his two-and-a-half year stint in English football, making only 15 Premier League starts for Arsenal in 2016-17.
He was stretchered out of a 3-1 home win over Everton on the final day of last season after suffering a serious knee problem. Such an issue caused him to miss the FA Cup final and all of pre-season, in addition to the Community Shield defeat of Chelsea and last week’s top-flight curtain-raiser against Leicester City. Wenger has been clear in his desire to further trim a bloated squad at the Emirates Stadium before the 31 August transfer deadline, with Gabriel following released striker Yaya Sanogo, new Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Getafe loanee Emiliano Martinez out of the exit door.
Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson, Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez could also be offloaded before the end of the month, although Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all look set to stay. Arsenal are hell-bent on retaining the services of contract rebel Alexis Sanchez, despite the risk of losing him for nothing next year.