Gabriel, of course, was signed by Villarreal from Brazilian club EC Vitoria in 2013 for a little over €3m, played a season and a half under Marcelino and then went to Arsenal for €15m, before rejoining Valencia (and Marcelino) for €11m in the fall of 2017. He has two years remaining on his contract and Cope report he is willing to move to Villarreal if we keep his current salary and give him a contract extension, though he was not among the dozen players Valencia told to find new clubs this summer.
Gabriel is 29; like a lot of Valencia players, he has suffered through the turmoil of coaching changes and dysfunction that characterized Valencia last season. He’s a good central defender at a reasonable price (supposedly Valencia want about €8m for him), plays both center back positions, and certainly knows Villarreal well.
Peter Lim’s Valencia ‘project’ continues to be a source of consternation to Los Che fans at this point, and if this deal comes to pass those protests outside the Mestalla will get bigger and bigger.
From Villarreal’s perspective, the deal makes obvious sense; however, if we take on another Valencia-sized salary I’m pretty sure Carlos Bacca will be on his way out.