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Per Mertesacker on Gabriel Paulista and the North London derby


Defender Per Mertesacker says new signing Gabriel Paulista was a much-needed signing for Arsenal's defensive department.

The 24-year-old joined the Gunners during the winter transfer window from Villareal and will add depth to an area of the team which was hit by several injuries during the campaign.

"We suffered a lot at times with injuries, but also with results," the German is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"We want a very deep squad and we look much better now. We have that competition in our team and have an addition with a centre-back now, so I think we have a deep and good squad at the moment.

"He [Gabriel Paulista] is a talent and I think we will get him to the level he needs because he has that potential.

"From my point of view, it is very promising because we were short at the back, especially in the centre position. We suffered a lot and had to change so many positions.

"It was a needed position to get everyone going and keep him on his natural position is very important."

The Gunners face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend and the Germany international says the focus is entirely on the North London derby.

"It is not our major focus at the moment to look forwards too much," he added.

"Next we have a very important away game. We are very close to each other in the league, are two London rivals.

"Last season we did quite well at White Hart Lane, so will try to repeat that. But now they have a new manager and there has been some change in the squad.

"It will be a good game, with an early kick off, so we need to be fresh."

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