Arsenal defender Gabriel set to seal €11m Valencia move

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The Brazilian defender will return to La Liga just two seasons after arriving from Villarreal for £11.3m

Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista will join Valencia after the two clubs agreed a fee in the region of £10 million (€11m).

The Brazilian defender has found himself behind the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding in the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium after arriving from Villarreal for £11.3m in 2015.

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Gabriel, who started just 15 Premier League games last season, was the first Arsenal player spotted and signed from the database of club-owned football data analytics company StatDNA, which earmarked the centre back as one of La Liga's most impressive statistical performers two seasons ago.

However, the 26-year-old has found game time and consistency difficult to come by with Wenger admitting when the player first arrived two years ago that Gabriel's biggest disadvantage was that he didn't speak English.

“He does not speak a word of English and that can cost you goals,” Wenger said. “If you mix going forwards with backwards, it can cost you. It is a position where you need to know your partners and you need to communicate as well. We try to teach him the important words. Like ‘Offside.’ And ‘Look at the linesman’.”

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Having suffered knee ligament damage on the final day of the campaign against Everton, the defender - who will be hoping to secure a place in the Brazil squad for World Cup 2018 - would have found his game time limited due to the emergence of youngster Holding as well as senior defenders Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is hoping to sell several fringe players before the transfer window closes in less than a fortnight's time, with the club open to offers for Kieran Gibbs, Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy.
 

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