Gabbia joined the Yellow Submarine on a season-long loan in the summer after Samu Chukwueze was sold to AC Milan. The 24-year-old has made seven La Liga appearances since, but he has not set the world alight, playing in a back-line that has been generally poor.
Villarreal themselves are very short at the back, and they may need to add a minimum of two centre-backs this January, with David Garcia being linked. The Yellows currently have an ageing Aissa Mandi, a perhaps past it Raul Albiol and a struggling Jorge Cuenca as their main options.
Gabbia will leave that list, with AC Milan striking a deal with Villarreal to end the loan deal early due to significant injury problems in their back-line, Rather than signing two centre-backs, they would prefer to get Gabbia back and sign another, according to reports in Italy, and it’s claimed the Gabbia part of that plan is already organised.
Villarreal fans won’t feel as though Gabbia will be a huge loss in terms of talent, but it is another body lost amid weak depth in that area.