Gabriel says he took an unfair share of the blame for Arsenal’s defensive troubles during his 18 months at the club and believes he should have been given more time to prove himself in the Premier League.
For most of the summer, it looked as though the Gunners would cash in on Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi as Arsene Wenger tried to slim down his squad. In the end, it was the Brazilian who made way, signing a five year deal with Valencia for a fee in the region of £10 million.
The 27-year-old has been a regular starter since moving to the Mestalla and seems to be taking to his new surroundings with aplomb, however, he admits his premature exit from the Emirates has left a sour taste in his mouth.
“I deserved more of an opportunity,” Gabriel told Sky Sports. “Sometimes I played because my team-mates were injured. I did play and sometimes even after playing well, I’d go home sad, given that I was only playing because my team-mate was injured. I don’t think I deserved that.
“I think I had the ability to play and to start games because I deserved to do so, or because I did well in training, but that didn’t happen.
“Sometimes I’d play three or four games and if Arsenal lost, I’d be dropped and everyone on the outside would say, “It’s Gabriel’s fault.
“That wasn’t good for me. People thought, ‘When that guy plays, Arsenal always lose.’ When [Hector] Bellerin got injured, I played at right-back and Arsenal started to lose.
“I think I played in four or five games en route to the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and I played brilliantly in that game. I played really well and I received plenty of praise. Then I think we faced Tottenham away and lost, I gave away a penalty in that game and lost my place in the team. I didn’t play again.
“I played in the last Premier League game because everyone was injured, all the centre-backs were out…I was quite down about how it went because of these reasons and it didn’t sit well with me.”
It’s always sad when a player’s ‘Dreams’ are ‘Out Of Reach’ but there’s no point asking ‘Should I Stay’ or ‘Give Me A Little More Time’ you ‘Don’t Need The Sun To Shine’ Gabriel, you’ll ‘Rise’ again. Probably.
Coat being got. Don’t worry.