The search for a new center-back has led Arsenal to Brazil as a rumoured move for Pablo Mari has been completed with the player’s medical already booked. Charles Watts of goal.com posted a video at 14:37 CAT on his Twitter page greeting Pablo Mari who was walking through the airport with Edu Gaspar. He asked Mari if he was excited to be signing for Arsenal and the Spanish center-back responded with a ”Yeah ofcourse”.
Style of play
Pablo Marin’s strength according to whoscored.com is blocking the ball while his weakness is listed as tackling. The same website describes his style of play as likes to play long balls, plays the ball off the ground often, indirect set-piece threat, and doesn’t dive into tackles.
Mari’s in the Brazilian Serie A averages 1 tackle per game, 1 interception per game, wins 0.9 offside per game, he is dribbled past 0.4 times per game, and makes 2.9 clearances per game. Offensively he makes 52.4 passes per game, with a 87.8% successful pass percentage, and plays 3.7 through balls per game.
A lot about Pablo Mari is reminiscent of Shkodran Mustafi, I don’t mean that Mari is as mistake-prone as Mustafi, I have never seen him play. But in the sense that they are both one-time failed center-backs in the Premier League. Mustafi failed to make it at Everton in his three years at the club before heading to La Liga where his fortunes took a turn for the better. With Mari, he was at Manchester City for three years failing to make a single appearance for the club who opted to loan him out to three different teams.
Pablo Mari loan spells
In 2016-17 he was loaned out to Girona FC who at the time were in the Spanish second division and he played in just eight matches.
In 2017-18 while on loan, he played thirty-one games and scored three goals in all competitions for NAC Breda who was in the Dutch second division. He also named the team’s captain during his loan stint.
In 2018-19 he was on loan to Deportivo de La Coruña who were in the Spanish second division where he managed 38 appearances and helped tr team finish the season in sixth place.
In July 2019 Pablo Mari was purchased by Brazilian giants Flamengo on a three-year deal for a fee of €1.3 million. Which begs a question, why would a club sign a 25-year-old player on a three-year deal if they had full confidence in his abilities? Another question one could ask is about how low the fee Manchester City took for him, in today’s market that alone could be tantamount to saying the player has little to no value.
That said things seem to have looked up for him as he made 29 appearances (all competitions) for Flamengo thus far scoring two goals and creating an assist. His appearances also include a Club World Cup clash versus Liverpool in which he is said to have turned out a positive performance in his team’s loss.
No one would blame Arsenal fans for being slightly disappointed if Pablo Mari is officially announced on a deal that said to be a loan deal that will be made permanent in the summer. Mari is 26-years-old and hasn’t succeeded anywhere but Flamengo, he hasn’t kicked the ball once in any European top-flight division.
It will be interesting to see how quickly he can adapt to the English game and contribute positively to the Gunners who need steady heads in defense. But all the early signs point to him being another typical Arsenal short term fix disguised as a long-term solution to a needy department in their team.
Just to be clear I am not saying he is a flop, I am just saying someone with more experience at the top would have been my choice. Someone who is proven at 26 would be my choice and someone who is relatively known as a good performer would be best for Arsenal at the moment.