Micah Richards admits he is yet to be won over by Arsenal defender Gabriel and questions if the Brazilian is the “right standard” for the Premier League.
The Gunners signed Gabriel from Lille for £23million in the summer transfer window, bolstering manager Mikel Arteta’s options in central defence.
But former England defender Richards believes the jury is still out on Gabriel, though he acknowledges the defensive progress Arsenal are making under Arteta.
“Arsenal’s defence still bothers me – is Gabriel the right standard? – but it is evident they are moving in the right direction,” Richards wrote in the Daily Mail .
“They are a long way from the peaks that Arsene Wenger brought but the picture is improving.”
Richards was equally sceptical about Arteta’s first 10 months as Arsenal boss as he set his boyhood club the target of securing a top-four finish this season.
He added: “What I think is important to point out is the fact this is only a start.
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“Arsenal are in a good moment but let’s be honest – he (Arteta) hasn’t lifted a side that was marooned at the bottom of the table and taken them to unprecedented heights.
“This is Arsenal and Arteta walked into a club that had one of the world’s best strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a £72m winger in Nicolas Pepe; he’s signed Willian and he’s got a brilliant talent in Eddie Nketiah emerging.
“‘When you add in that they have just signed Thomas Partey – what an unbelievable piece of business that could prove – Arteta has got a lot of quality to choose from. Arsenal, really, should be looking at the top four.”
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