Arsene Wenger admits that Gabriel’s lack of English isn’t ideal but has reiterated that the Brazilian is working hard to improve his language skills.
The centre-back signed from Villarreal 13 months ago and has since consolidated his credentials as a genuine option in the heart of Arsenal’s defence alongside Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
That said, his muddled performance in the defeat against Manchester United has again raised questions about his ability to understand and communicate with his teammates.
Questioned on the matter in his pre-Swansea press conference, Arsene Wenger agreed that in an ideal world his £11 million signing would be fluent by now.
“I would prefer him to have better English because in a fraction of a second somebody can help you.”
“I speak to the full-backs in Spanish, to Koscielny in French and to Per in English because for him it is the same as me.
“He organises people in English. Sometimes foreign players wouldn’t know what you say. That’s when you realise it’s easier to say it in their language than hoping they will understand. It can happen.”
Of course, Portuguese and Spanish – for all their similarities – are not the same language. So Gabriel, while his Spanish may be decent (we’re guessing) is still at a slight disadvantage.
Get that man a bumper selection of Rosetta Stone CDs…