Arsenal have been in desperate need for a centre half. It doesn’t take a genius to work it out. David Luiz, as good as he’s been recently, has a mistake in him. Mustafi, a disaster waiting to happen. Not much needs to be said. Calum Chambers looks like he’ll have injury problems for the foreseeable future whilst Rob Holding is still lacking sharpness after coming back from his injury. That leaves Sokratis who’s been shaky here and there. The point is, the Gunners needed a leader at the back and someone to bring the composure to the backline. For that, they’ve looked towards Pablo Mari...
The 26 year old has been part of an exciting Flamengo side which surprised the world in 2019. He played a key role in their Brazilian Serie A title, their Copa Libertadores triumph and Rubro-Negro’s valiant effort in the Club World Cup against Liverpool. We’ve seen Reinier Jesus leave his homeland for the Santiago Bernabeu which you could read about HERE if you’re interested. But Mori now looks set to leave Latin America for the red of North London.
Arsenal have now announced Pablo Mari’s arrival.
So what have Arsenal seen in the former Manchester defender (yes you heard me), who failed to make an appearance for the club? We’ll give you the rundown:
Pablo Mari – Style of Play
At 6ft 3, Mari is an obvious physical presence. What you expect from most centre halves. Tall, difficult to push off the ball and able to use his body well to shield the ball, as well as bully the striker into losing it. It also makes the former Deportivo With the likes of Chambers, Koscielny and Holding over the years, you could say Arsenal have been lacking that physicality on one side of defence.
The Flamengo defender strikes me as a no-nonsense centre back. Proper old fashioned. Not afraid to slide into a challenge, shown by the real venom in his tackles in the video. Then after getting the ball back, he’s not looking to play it out from the back. Instead he just boots it into Row Z or clears it, far away from danger.
But that doesn’t mean Mari is incompetent at passing out either. With an 87.8% pass accuracy last season alongside averaging an impressive 3.7 balls per game, he’s no slouch in possession. The video shows on occasions him making short passes quite well. But to have that first instinct of clearing the ball away from danger will go down well with the Emirates faithful. No messing around.
The 26 year old doesn’t seem like the quickest either, which makes his other qualities as a centre back shine. The video shows how he reads the game, making up for the lack of pace by always being in the right place. A bit like Per Mertesacker you could say in that respect. Then of course his tackling looks on point. With just 4 yellow cards in the Brazilian Serie A this season, despite the aggression in his challenges, he seems disciplined too, knowing went to go in and when not to.
The signing Arsenal need?
At this stage in the window, Arsenal will take anything they can get considering their injury crisis at the back. Pablo Mari seems like a no-brainer. Low risk as a loan and if he performs well, they can take up the option to buy. Potentially high reward, this could be a shrewd signing by Arteta for a player who’s yet to reach his prime.
Is he a Dayot Upamecano? Probably not, but he can do a job and makes sense for a club that’s often unwilling to break the bank.
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