In December 2012, Arsenal acquired a sports analytics company called StatDNA. This was done to improve the search for new players in a world of increasing competition from oil-rich soulless clubs like Chelsea and Man City.
When asked if StatDNA helped find Gabriel:
I cannot tell you all but he has good stats. [Did we find him through StatDNA?] It is not a no.
Asked to explain more:
We look at interceptions, defensive errors, winning tackles – what we call tackles is committing to win the ball. Set piece receptions, these kind of things. The most important thing is through the eye.
Does this system find players for us? That is what we look for, of course, because it is difficult to watch all the games. But what I mean is that if the numbers confirm the eye, it gives you more.
On why StatDNA helps scouting:
If a [scout] comes home and says: ‘I’ve seen a good player,’ you can statistically observe this player for five, six, seven games. You send him again, he comes back and says he’s a good player‚ the numbers confirm it, you can say the risk is limited. Though there is always a risk.
On how stats only get you halfway at the end of the day:
We have our own system [through StatDNA], with qualities we think are important. After that, you have the attitude of the player. Because you can have good stats for a while but if you go out every night until six o’clock in the morning, it won’t last.
On the recent comparisons between Gabriel and David Luiz:
Gabriel is a different style to David Luiz. David Luiz looked more like a defensive midfielder than a centre-back because of his level of concentration and his dynamism going forward. Gabriel is a more typical defender. He is a real defender, who wants to defend. He’s from Sao Paulo. He’s a Paulista. You have Rio players and you have São Paulo players. [Rio] is a beach area and [Sao Paulo] is more hard-working.