Gabriel Completes £10m Valencia Switch


Arsenal’s squad clearance began with the £10m sale of Brazilian central defender Gabriel to Valencia.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger must trim his squad to accommodate the increased salaries being demanded by contract rebels Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

While Alexis Sanchez is in the same situation, the prospect of his stay in north London lasting beyond next summer decrease on an almost-daily basis.

Gabriel was a surprising departure. Fringe players Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Lucas Perez were believed to be close to leaving the Emirates than the centre back. However, Per Mertesacker’s performance in the FA Cup final persuaded Wenger that the German had more to offer the first team than Gabriel.

Calum Chambers seems to be the biggest beneficiary. The England youngster seemed to be heading out on a loan spell once again but this departure creates more opportunities in the remodelled Arsenal back three.

Injury marred his time in north London but Gabriel became a cult hero for standing up to the bully-boy tactics of Diego Costa which led to the Spanish international receiving a three-match ban for simulation during the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge two years ago.

Gabriel is returning to familiar territory. Villarreal are Valencia’s local rivals and the fixture is sure to be an emotional occasion. He’s set for a baptism of fire. Signed too late for this weekend’s match against Las Palmas, his debut is likely to be next weekend. In the Bernabeu, against Real Madrid…