Mikel Arteta prioritised a move for a quality centre-back at the start of the transfer window and identified 22-year-old Lille star Gabriel as one of his top targets.
After weeks of advanced negotiations between the two clubs, Gabriel officially became an Arsenal player on September 1 for a fee of around £25million.
Gabriel has immediately become an integral player in Arteta’s side and was named the club’s Player of the Month for September after a series of outstanding displays at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.
Arsenal forward Pepe – briefly Gabriel’s team-mate at Lille – believes the young centre-half has made an immediate impact with his recent performances – and told Sky Sports about the role his played in luring the Brazilian to north London.
‘Yes, I did speak to him quite a lot before he came here,’ Pepe said.
‘I recommended to him that it would be a good idea at the time and we did need a new defender. He would be able to play.
‘He’s come in, he’s confident.
‘Also, David Luiz spoke to him, he speaks French and Portuguese so it’s quite easy for him.’
Gabriel was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 4-1 victory over Molde in the Europa League last night but the defender is likely to return to Mikel Arteta’s starting XI this weekend.
The Gunners will be looking to make it four wins from their last four games in all competitions as they prepare to entertain Aston Villa at the Emirates.