Arsene Wenger backs Gabriel Paulista to prove himself at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger is backing Gabriel Paulista to impress in an Arsenal shirt following his January transfer

Arsene Wenger has challenged Gabriel Paulista to prove his quality to Arsenal following his January transfer from Villarreal.

Gabriel joined the Gunners from the Spanish side in a £11.2m deal last month, with forward Joel Campbell heading to the La Liga club on a season-long loan.

And Wenger, who hinted that the defender could make his Gunners debut in Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash with Middlesbrough at Emirates Stadium, is backing the 23-year-old to impress in an Arsenal shirt.

“[He is] a player who likes to defend. It is more and more difficult to find people like that,” Wenger told a news conference at Arsenal’s training ground on Friday morning.

“He has good qualities – good pace, good in one against ones…

“It’s better that I don’t talk too much and let him play to show how good he is.”

Arsenal were granted a work permit for Gabriel last month, despite the fact that he is uncapped and not a European Union citizen.

MORE: Ramsey ruled out for Arsenal

Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on 21 February before the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with AS Monaco four days later.

The north London side are currently fifth in the Premier League table.

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