Madrid, Jan 25: Villarreal manager Marcelino Garcia Toral Sunday admitted that he didn't envisage Gabriel Paulista leaving the club this month.
The Yellow Submarine confirmed on Twitter that a £15 million deal with Arsenal had been agreed Saturday evening, shortly before their Primera Division match against Levante kicked off at El Madrigal, reports dailymail.co.uk.
The 24-year-old was visibly emotional as he said his final goodbyes to the Villarreal fans at the half-time interval during their 1-0 win Saturday, as he was presented with a yellow submarine as a farewell present.
"Gabriel's departure surprised us all because we didn't expect to make changes to the squad . From a sporting point of view it's unfortunate, but neither the club nor the player could afford to resist Arsenal's offer. I wish him the greatest professional success," Marcelino said.
"We'll now seek a new centre-back. We have the resources to replace Gabriel, but finding a replacement won't be easy because the level of demand is increasing."
As part of the deal, the La Liga side has acquired Gunners striker Joel Campbell, with Marcelino pleased with the versatility he will bring to the table.
"Campbell] is an interesting signing for Villarreal because he can play several positions and has a different profile to the players we already have."