Gabriel Paulista
Paulista is on the brink of joining Arsenal from Villarreal.Getty Images

No big headlines were written in the summer of 2013 when Gabriel Armando de Abreu - best known as Gabriel Paulista- arrived in Spanish football.

In a Championship monopolised by Barcelona and Real Madrid, Paulista's signing for Villarreal -for a fee of just €3.5 million - was not a matter of discussion. Even the Spanish pundits were scratching their heads about how to describe this new Brazilian import, born in Sao Paulo in 1990.

But suddenly, once the tournament began, supporters and gurus started to write regularly about the impressive impact he made in La Liga. Anyone who follows spanish football knew that Paulista was a different player. A raw talent, an athlete destined to become one of the top defenders of Europe. An all-round centre-back, right-footed but perfectly prepared to play on the left side of defence.

In a way, he reminded Spanish fans of Pepe, the Portuguese defender, because of his forcefulness and his successful statistics in aerial duels. Thankfully, he doesn't display Pepe's madness; in fact he is renowned for his enigmatic calm on the pitch, a composed demeanour which ensures he always make the right choice, even in stressful situations.

It is not only a matter of being technically extremely gifted; it's the intelligent way in which Paulista defends. He's similar to David Luiz, but without the temporary brain explosions. His signing for a top European club has been merely a matter of time, and no-one has greeted Arsenal's interest with surprise.

Paraphrasing Florentino Perez's classic quotation, Gabriel Paulista was born to play for Arsenal. Technically gifted, he is able to pass and dribble like a midfielder, fitting seamlessly into the tiki taka style that led Villarreal into the Europa League in their first year after achieving promotion.

This way of playing demands talent everywhere, even in the back of the team - a style that demands dribblers in the back, someone wrote once. Per Mertesacker's inability to play this way is part of the reason why he has been so heavily criticised this season, and Paulista would be a major improvement.

One and a half seasons after Paulista's arrival to European football, Arsenal are about to invest £15 million in him, making him the most expensive defender in the club's history. Gunners fans might be wondering whether such a large outlay is prudent, especially when it comes to the subject of a defender. But it won't take many weeks for the club to be vindicated.

The adaptation to a new country, a new lifestyle and a new league did not deter Paulista when he arrived on Spain's eastern coast. And it is hard to believe the story will be any different this time around. In fact, a couple of games should provide irrefutable evidence that the Brazilian was born to play in the Premier League.

Oier Fano Dadebat is a Spanish journalist who divides his time between San Sebastian and London. You can find out more about him on Twitter @oierfano.