Mangala signed a five-year contract to complete his switch from Porto, and Zabaleta admits that he is impressed by what he has seen of the France international.
"He's only 23, I can't believe it but sometimes this is what you need for a centre-back in the Premier League," the Argentine told Sky Sports News. "He's physically strong - he's really good in the air.
"He's also good technically so he looks a very good player."
Mangala could make his debut for the club in their Premier League opener against Newcastle United on Sunday.