LONDON, January 28 – Arsenal announced on Wednesday that they have completed the signing of Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal, with Joel Campbell moving in the opposite direction in a short-term loan deal.
“Arsenal have signed Brazilian defender Gabriel from Villarreal, with Joel Campbell agreeing a new long-term deal prior to a loan move to the La Liga side,” the Premier League club said on their website.
Arsenal did not specify the length of Gabriel’s contract or the transfer fee, but British press reports claimed they had paid around £11 million ($16.7 million, 14.7 million euros) for the 24-year-old centre-back.
“I had a talk with my family and I told them that it was my dream to play in the Premier League. Getting here to such a big club is so gratifying,” Gabriel said.
“I am arriving at a big club and the fans can expect to find a Gabriel with a great will to help everyone. Not just thinking of me as an individual, because to me that is not important.
“I care more about helping the team and my team-mates. I want to help everyone, so the fans can expect a Gabriel that on the field has a lot of will to be able to help the team win important things.”
Gabriel, who is uncapped, has been awarded a work permit after Arsenal successfully argued that he should be granted exemption from a rule requiring non-European Union players to play for a country ranked in the world’s top 70 and to have played in at least 75 percent of their country’s competitive games over a two-year period.
He will provide competition for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and fills the void created by Thomas Vermaelen’s move to Barcelona during the last close season.
Gabriel started his career with Vitoria in his homeland before joining Villarreal at the start of last season.
This season he helped Villarreal climb to sixth place in La Liga and reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and the last 32 of the Europa League.
Villarreal will be the fourth European club that Campbell has been loaned to since he signed for Arsenal in 2011, after previous stints at Lorient, Real Betis and Olympiakos.
The 22-year-old forward impressed for Olympiakos last season and starred for Costa Rica at the World Cup in Brazil, but has made only three starts for Arsenal this season.
He will remain at Villarreal until the end of the season.