Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal Starting XI or to the Bench?


Gabriel Paulista is all set to move to Arenal. It appears the work permit issue wasn’t near as big of a deal as we had anticipated. Either that, or Arsene Wenger is really good at convincing those in charge that the Brazilian is an ‘exceptional talent’.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Now, the question becomes what happens with this ‘exceptional talent’.

Paulista’s final price was 11.3 million pounds and he’s undergoing his medical today, so he’ll be with the team soon. Obviously he’s going to take some time getting acclimated to Arsenal’s way and to working under the mastermind that is Arsene Wenger, but what happens after that?

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Kocielny have always had an excellent partnership, and against Manchester City we were reminded of how they have been one of the best centre back pairings in the world over the last couple years.

Along with them, Kieran Gibbs has played a great left back when healthy and Hector Bellerin has emerged as a rising young talent at right back. Nacho Monreal grants cover to left back and center back and young Calum Chambers to centre back and right back.

So where does that leave our newest acquisition?

Paulista has good speed and can play straight across the back line. His size makes him a legitimate centre back and his aggression makes him a Laurent Kocielny type. However, his aforementioned speed makes him a good full back option as well. His passing is the one knock on him.

And that’s the question, where do we stick him?

In my opinion, after he gets acclimated, we put him at right back. Nothing against Bellerin, but he’s small and young. One of Arsenal’s main weaknesses this year has been physicality, particularly on set pieces. By having Gibbs, Kocielny, Mertesacker and Paulista along the back line, we are considerably bigger and the aggression and size combination make our set piece defense much more prominent.

In the long run, Paulista will be a replacement for Kocielny, but as of right now, his versatility is his biggest ally, as he’ll find plenty of playing time across the back line. Plus, with how many competitions Arsenal are still involved in, he’ll get time at his native centre back and wherever else Arsene Wenger endeavors to test him out.

Follow Pain in the Arsenal on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Next: Francis Coquelin or Jack Wilshere?