Gabriel Paulista to wear No.5 shirt at Arsenal

Gabriel Paulista will follow in the footsteps of Martin Keown and Steve Bould after he was handed the No 5 shirt at Arsenal.

Gabriel, the 24-year-old Brazilian, was granted a work permit despite not yet having played for his country and joined the Gunners from Villarreal for an £11.2 million fee on Wednesday.

And Arsenal have confirmed that he will wear the No 5, vacated by former club captain Thomas Vermaelen who joined Barcelona in the summer.

Gabriel, who will earn a basic salary of around £60,000-a-week at the Emirates, admitted that playing in the Premier League was a dream come true and revealed that he joined Arsenal after a personal request to sign by Wenger.
'I came on his request, on the coach’s request,' he told the club's website. 'He asked to sign me and that gives me more strength and the will to be able to work. I see that he’s a coach that has been here for many years and this is important, not only for the team but also for the club. This is very important for everyone that works here in the club, to have a coach like this.'

'The few games I have watched and witnessed, during the season, I saw that there is room for improvement,' he said. 'We have a lot to conquer because Arsenal is a very big club, we must always be at the top. I think it’s a club that will keep growing throughout the season, and that over the next few years we will be able to win important titles.'
Gabriel will primarily compete with the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker for a place at centre-half, a task he admits is 'not going to be easy' - but he can also play on the right or left side of the backline.
'I am very anxious and that is something that is normal to a young player, playing at such a high level,' he added. 'So I am very anxious to be able to start at this huge, beautiful stadium, a stadium that the fans come to, to be able to support us. It’s something I’ve always noticed when I watch Arsenal.'

'A while ago I had a really huge desire to play in the Premier League, so since that point I put it in my head that I really wanted to do it. 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.

'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.'
Credit: Phil Duncan/SportsMail