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 [in January]. 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 [in top players] 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."