The South American defender joined the Gunners in a £16m deal from La Liga outfit Villarreal in the January transfer window as manager Arsene Wenger looked to bolster his defensive options.
I always have that in my head – to want to defend, and defend well. And that is why
Gabriel has been quietly impressive for the north London side in his opening games for the Gunners after helping Arsenal to keep two clean sheet in his five appearances in all competitions so far.
The uncapped Brazilian centre-half, who has donned number five for the FA Cup holders, spoke about his natural instincts to defend, adding that he never had the desire to score goals.
“When we are little, we always want to be on the attack, but I realised that it wouldn’t work, so I kept going backwards and backwards,” Gabriel told Arsenal’s website.
“The only thing I didn’t try was being a goalkeeper. I stopped there.
“So I started to play in defence and I started to do well, I started to enjoy it. I made my decision, I thought: ‘This it is! I’m not leaving here’.
“I began enjoying it and I started to want to defend, to fight not to let them in, not to let the other team score goals.
“I always have that in my head – to want to defend, and defend well. And that is why.”
Gabriel has helped Arsenal beat Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Everton and Crystal Palace during his four Premier League appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side so far.
The uncapped Brazilian also made his FA Cup debut in a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last month.
The former Villarreal man could feature against Liverpool in the north London outfit’s next Premier League outing at The Emirates
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