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Arsene Wenger: Gabriel Paulista is very close to making his debut


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hints defender Gabriel Paulista could be in the starting line-up to face Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon.

The 24-year-old is yet to feature for the Gunners since moving from Villarreal for £11.2m but the Frenchman says all players will be given a chance ahead of the last four months of the season.

"Gabriel is very close to making his debut," Wenger said.

"[He] is a player who has the ability and likes to defend - it's more and more difficult to find people like that. He's a player who has good qualities - he has good pace, he's good in the air and is good in one against ones.

"It's better I don't talk too much, let him play and he can show how good he is.

"We have the squad to [compete], but that's down to how dedicated, how focused, how motivated, how united we'll be until the end of the season that will of course decide that.

"This is a period where you need more from your players than usual, because it's the last four months of the season. You need everybody to give a bit more than they're used to.

"[The squad will] not [be rotated] especially because it's the FA Cup. Some players will play who have not played recently, but we treat this game exactly the same as a Premier League game."

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Arsene Wenger, Gabriel Paulista