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Arsenal misfit Gabriel is poised to join Valencia in a £10m move.
Brazilian defender Gabriel has struggled to settle in England and adapt to the Premier League after two and a half years at the club.
It will be seen as a major blow for Arsenal’s recruitment policy as he was the first player initially identified on the basis of his statistics for Villarreal.
Gabriel joined for £15m in January 2015 with Arsene Wenger admitting at the time there is “always a risk” and that his stats on “interceptions, defensive errors, winning tackles” were key to him being signed.
Wenger said in January 2015: “If the numbers confirm the eye, it gives you more. If a guy comes home and says ‘I’ve seen a good player’, you can statistically observe this player for five, six, seven games.”
Gabriel struggled to hold down a regular place and now Arsenal have a depth of defensive options they are willing to sell with Valencia confident of getting a deal done.
It looked as if Gabriel might struggle to leave in this window because he is still recovering after a knee ligament injury suffered in the final Premier League game of last season against Everton.
But the deal could still go ahead with Arsenal keen to clear their decks as they look to trim back their squad with Mathieu Debuchy, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Lucas Perez all available for transfer.