Pablo Mari and Edu busted in airport

by .

Charles Watts, take a bow son.

The Goal journo caught Edu and Pablo Mari walking out of the airport, which can lead us to one of two conclusions, the Spaniard is our new defensive signing, or he and Edu are into lads trips away.

Let’s go with the Spaniard being the first new signing of the Edu era.

He’s a signing out of the left-field, that’s not a problem of course. He has a lot of interesting aspects to his game that could be of benefit to the way we play moving forward.

Firstly, he’s 6ft 4 inches. He’s a monster, which will suit the league and give us good coverage from pesky highballs into the box and from setpieces. He’s a leader, a great organizer, and he’s just off the back of a historic season in Brazil.

The Spaniard, who moved the opposite way transfers from Europe and South America usually happen, has been owned by Manchester City for 3 years. So Mikel will know him intimately, though he’ll have never worked with him directly. This from Mari in Athletic earlier this season.

“In my mind, I was moving to Manchester but I’d only been there once for my medical,”

“I signed for City in 2013 but I’ve never met Pep Guardiola or any of the first-team players. I’d love to one day speak to him because he’s one of the greatest ever coaches. And when I signed for City, I did so because I felt that one day, I could play for them.”

His best European loan spell came when he had a 38 game roll with Deportivo when they were in the Segunda Division, but he struggled to land a contract anywhere until Flamengo offered him a 3 year deal under Jorge Jesus. The exBenfica manager had this to say of his star defender.

“He has been superb for me, not just on the field but off it. He wants you to be the very best footballer you can be and also the best person you can be. He wants players to express themselves but be humble. He wants players to be serious about their football. It’s not easy being 11 hours away by plane from your home but he made it easier for me to adapt — the training ground is top quality too — and the coach is one of the best in the world. It’s a great feeling to have the confidence of your coach.”

ESPN had a good paragraph on what he’s offered the free-flowing football of Flamengo this season.

The 26-year-old was signed from Manchester City, who had parked him on loan at Deportivo La Coruna. Given City’s defensive problems this year, they could have made a mistake letting him go, because he has been a vital part of the Jorge Jesus jigsaw. Without his capacity to play in and organize a high line, the team would be stretched out and vulnerable, with a gaping hole in front of the defence. The steadiness of the Spaniard allows the two veteran full-backs, Rafinha and Filipe Luis, to spend more time in the opponent’s half than in their own, constructing the play from the back.’

The player is coming in on a loan deal apparently, presumably with a view to a permanent deal if he performs well.

I have no idea what to expect, though I was pleased to see him having a pretty solid game against Liverpool in the FIFA Club Cup Final, and this highlights reel from a Flamengo fan has some good bits.

There are obviously some worries with this signing. He’s a late bloomer who struggled to catch the eye whilst at City, that doesn’t mean he’ll not be great, but a watch out. Coming from the Brazilian League to the Premier League is going to be a shock to his system, so it’s going to be a baptism of fire. Asking players to adapt from any league in 2 weeks is always tough, but I guess when it’s a choice of his rustiness or Mustafi, it’s a no-brainer.

There’s also the same familiar contacts approach to scouting that has been going on since Sven left. This is another player represented by someone very close to Raul. This time it’s Arturo Canales, who according to Phil Costa was also asked to represent the Shaktar defender we’ve been sniffing around. Canales has been in and around Arsenal for a while. Unai Emery coincidentally switched to his agency after a very strong recommendation from his agent in waiting. This is Emery to Marca in 2018.

“Why I was chosen by Arsenal? I was a part of a list of eight candidates, as Ivan Gazidis said. But Arturo Canales [not yet his agent] insisted that I was the best candidate of all,”

Firstly, he clearly wasn’t the best candidate available. Secondly, why would an agent’s opinion carry any weight at all? Regardless of why Raul was sweet-talked in this situation, the murky nature of his involvement started to look very odd when he was allegedly pushing for Emery to get a new 4-year deal right after seeing a car crash end to the season that culminated in the worst cup final defeat in a generation… then he took an age to pull the trigger, despite watching the worst Arsenal start in 38 years.

These agents are in it for themselves and when you see the same names crop up over and over again, it worries you that we’re being pointed in the direction of curveball signings through recommendations, versus deeply interrogated data analysis. Players are the lifeblood of the club, I really hope we’re going deeper than a finger pointing in a certain direction when making decisions, because contacts scouting is the past, and we need to be heading towards the future if we’re to compete at the highest level again.

Still, we’ll at least be looking at a new player… fingers crossed on that medical.


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225 Responses to “Pablo Mari and Edu busted in airport”

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  1. Dissenter

    It doesn’t make any economic sense in my opinion, to get this Pablo lad on a loan.
    If our scouting led us to him…then we might has well just buy him outright.
    His wages can’t be more than Guendouzi makes right now, about 30k weekly coming from Brazil.
    He’s the quintessential low risk signing- he doesn’t even seem to be surrounded by a posse of agents like players tend to have these days.

  2. Dissenter

    I wonder why people feel uneasy about signing a defender who started in a Copa Libertadores winning side
    …when they were happy to work themselves into a frenzied state sapping up Mavropanos on the basis of ONE good game.

  3. Pedro

    Valentin, my concern as well… though he did get binnned by City then win big at Flamengo!

    Dissenter, think everyone has defended PTSD and maybe we’re all a bit ahead of ourselves when we think about the type of defender we have the power to purchase.

    My worry is mainly pace. Can salute the idea behind the signing though.

  4. Useroz

    From the YouTube clips Mari has good aerial abilities. Well., scenes where he lost aerial duels wouldn’t make it to the clip by definition!!? He isn’t pacy. Clips show he’s willing to make blocks. Also show few times he scored with headers; and a couple of long passes. That’s it. Basic. No thrills. Great option for poor clubs.

  5. Gonsterous

    I don’t get January loan signings. Especially a non PL player. I hope the defender comes good but he needs an adaption period and then he needs to fight for his place in the side.
    We could just throw him in the deep end but that is a risk to the players confidence as well as our points.

    Time will tell just like with everything else, right??

  6. Gonsterous

    Just read reports that it’s a permanent move for 7.5m.
    If we move on mustafi and sok, maybe we can free up some money to put it towards a CM in the summer.

  7. Sid

    This is a great signing, up there with Torr, Martinelli signings, more of these type of deals needed. Even Mavro when sold will make money for the club. Dortmund 2.0
    Xhaka, mustafinovs, mikhi, even (ozil and Laca could be in this group) type of signings are the ones to avoid. Lemar and the hunchback of ukraine fall in this category.

    Im telling you this for free!

  8. Zacharse

    I imagine he slipped through the cracks at city which isn’t really a stretch. I do remember them buying a series of overpriced star name defenders w big agents. Especially as he was on loan a lot of the time which isn’t a great booster for team spirit which this guy, judging from the clips and a solid run that nearly got them the club world championship, seems to hve plenty of

  9. Chris

    More and more managers, of lower league clubs also, calling for FA Cup replays to be scrapped.

    I get that money spinning replays are a good financial gain for a lot of clubs, but I have felt we have been at that point for a few years where they should be scrapped altogether. Semi final replays were done away with years ago I believe, and they only go up to the 5th round now I think.

    The trouble is if 2 PL clubs have to go to replays in the early rounds it is a pain for all concerned. I think it would be the last thing ourselves or Bournemouth would want from tomorrow night, and a 5th round replay were it to occur would be a nightmare thrown in with the Europa League schedule.

    Time to do away with replays completely.

  10. Graham62


    Regrettably, I have to agree with them.

    Neutral grounds for semis is a must, as playing them at Wembley has devalued the competition.

  11. Ishola70


    “I wonder why people feel uneasy about signing a defender who started in a Copa Libertadores winning side”

    I like watching a bit of Libertadores and South American football.

    I like it’s old school feel and passion of the fans in the stadium.

    But it has to be said that overall the Libertadores is on a lower level than the European competitions as would be the case with Brazilian League matches. Sure you get some good younger players coming through in South America but overall their teams are on a weaker level.

    Flamengo holding Liverpool to a tight match in that Club World Cup match doesn’t negate that overall the standard overall is lower in South American club football. Plenty of teams can be hard to beat in single matches.

    Having said that the better indicator of Madri being maybe a successful signing is not necessarily what he has been getting up to in South America for the last six months but rather that Manchester City had the interest in the player in the first place those years back whe he first came to England.

  12. Ishola70

    Shame to see that the FA Cup continues to see teams putting out weaker sides not their full first teams.

    And the sides that are most guilty of this are just as much if not more the lower league underdog side in the tie.

    That’s not to say that there are not good matches played with these under strength teams put out but it devalues the competition no doubt.

    Most matches yesterday saw teams put out understrength teams. One of the underdogs in one tie yesterday replaced their entire first eleven from their previous league match.

    I wonder what Pierre thinks of this as he loves to bang the FA Cup drum presumably because Arsene Wenger bagged a couple of them in his later years. His only trophies in his last period.

  13. Ishola70

    Maybe one to keep an eye on.

    Fer Nino the youngster come off the bench for Villarreal to score the winner against Alaves yesterday. He took his goal well.

    Big rangy striker who has been noted for his goalscoring exploits at youth level.

    And wow Atalanta winning 7-0 away in Serie A yesterday. Really good things going on at that club under the guidance of Gasperini.

  14. Daniel Altos

    Am I the only one who is worried about Saliba?The guy is getting alot of injuries and it’s not looking good

  15. zaco

    so many sad people complaining about Pablo Mari, I guess these same people would have complained if Arsenal Signed Salah from Roma and KDB when he was at Chelsea, you would have all been disappointed for the signing of Chelsea rejects. the same people would have all been disappointed if arsenal had signed Mahrez when he was in France instead of a so called Premier league experienced.
    You blame the club for not buying VVD when he was at Celtic and now blame the same club for buying Pablo Mari because he cost less than 8M and never played for Man City. and who told you a player coming from the Brazilian league won’t hit the ground running when we have seen an 18 year old boy from Brazilian 4th division is scoring on a regular basis against premier league teams.

    stop complaining.

  16. Aussie Gooner


    I too do not know why people are so pessimistic about Mari. He was at City at the time they were buying anything with a pulse who looked to have promise. They were overloaded with talent and only 11 can play in each side, so many were loaned out for profit. Even City did not have the resources to process so much talent in such a time period. Hence many slipped under the radar.

    I don’t know what else he was supposed to do other than do his best in Brazil and end up the best player in his position in the Brazilian league – which is exactly what happened. Yes, he has matured later than most but has proven to be a success. Lets just see how he pans out – after all he cost 10m and will not be on mega wages. A gamble well worth taking in my opinion. After all I believe a few successful players have come from the Brazilian League if I am not mistaken!

  17. Daniel Altos

    Tosun Adurubiayo…22 years straight from the city academy looks a good prospect,any chance we can hijack that one?6ft 5,can pick a pass and relatively quick….crunching tackles too…they have Harwood Belis,Eric Garcia and him…all of them look like good defenders.Which brings me to the question,why can’t the Arsenal Academy produce any meaningful defensive players?Am talking left backs ,centre backs,DMs etc…I look at our academy now and all I see is attacking prospects.

  18. Thorough

    “Flamengo fan here not coming in peace. Give us Pablo back,” they wrote.

    “You have 48 hours to make him fail the medicals and fly him back to Rio de Janeiro.”

    The fan also then gave an encouraging statement on how Mari may adapt to the Premier League.
    “think he can adapt quickly,” they said.

    “He spent all his career in Europe and only 6 months in Brazil. When he arrived people doubted he would make it because of the culture shock, language, long Brasileirão travels and all that but he played like he was there for years.

    “He adapted to a totally different reality like a duck from ground to water.

    “S0 I think he will be absolutely fine.”

    Make of this what you will.

  19. Useroz

    It’s a test for Arteta but our ‘potent’ forwards deserve better in MF than what we got. Ozil ain’t going to revive even when he tried in recent games. Who else would come up with the creatives? Not Xhara, nor Guensouzi, Ceballks,, Willock. Did I miss someone?

    The rest of season is going to be painful if we don’t manage to find some abilities to score more goals. Improved effort, desire and in game management could only help us go so far such as conceding less but it ain’t going to win us more games necessarily.

    Don’t know who the club could find. If there’s a tiny bit of truth to the Lemar thing, or another no name, just make it happen in time cos we need it.

    Why haven’t Elnent and Mikhi been sold yet remains a mystery. Can get more in summer? Raul knows Mendes et al rather well and business ought to go both ways.

  20. Daniel Altos

    I saw was CG was talking about defenders having to be nasty ugly guys…I mean,the best defender in the world is quite a good looking guy.Troy Deeney from your beloved Watford even admitted that the guy is handsome and smells so nice.

  21. Champagne Charlie

    I think Pablo Mari is a good approach to take mid-season. The alternatives are what? Boeteng or similar on 140k for 6 months and a 2/3 mil loan fee?

    If you’re comparing this lad to a potential Upamecano transfer (or similar) then the expectation is simply wide of the mark for the January window typically, but this one especially after the summer outlay.

    He does well: we rejoice at smart recruitment

    He does poorly: we offload for little money and move on. There’s no big fee to justify, there’s no wage impediment.

    Much prefer this sort of deal given the potential upside.

  22. Unai

    Raul has contacts with many agents therefore any deal done with said agents is ‘contacts scouting’ and as such, lacks imagination and makes no sense at all.

    We really need to be looking at players without agents or we will never progress.

  23. Majesticgooner

    Signing mari and not addressing the midfield will still leave us open to the same problems we have now, we need a dynamic midfield

  24. Chris


    I whole heartedly agree. I don’t know exactly how much money the FA makes from holding the semi finals at Wembley, but going back to having them at neutral venues may be one way to bring back a bit of buzz for the competition? Villa Park is a classic semi final venue for example but these days it could be the Emirates or (sigh) the new Spurs stadium (sigh).

    I have also now seen that there are to be no 5th round replays and that the round is to be held midweek! This may be to do with the ‘winter break’ such as it is, but will probably end up feeling like another round of the league cup.

  25. CG

    I was mistaken.
    We now have x 8 center backs on the AFC payroll.

    Sok,Luiz,Mustafi, Holding, Saliba,Chambers,young greek lad and this Mari.

    Virtually a given we will only be playing 38 league fixtures next term.

    Why on earth do we need 8?
    George Graham never even required 8 CB’s.
    And why do we need another one right now?
    How about be patient and give Holding a chance to return to pre ACL form in the remaining games?

    Suarez ( Spain) loan =FLOP
    Cebollas (Spain) loan=FLOP
    Mari( Spain) loan = FLOP?

    CG has studied him on some video footage and my verdict:

    I have seen milk turn quicker.
    Crikey he is slow.

    We need speed and athleticism not another plodder.

  26. Nelson

    It is a good insurance policy. Luiz is the only decent CB left. The rest all have various problems. Europa Cup games will resume in a month. The schedule will get heavy. There is time to integrate him with the team. It seems that he is very eager to succeed in the EPL.

  27. Zimmie2652

    Why can’t our scouting network find guys like Militao when others can? Porto signed him for $7mil and 6-8 months later sold him to Real for $50mil.

    There’s another up and coming young guy in Porto, RB with all the intangibles with a buyout of only 10mil. Esteves. All the big dogs are watching him, get in early and strike while the iron’s hot. He turned down Barca so I can only imagine what he’d say to us but then again, I guess that it is the Arsenal way. Put in a dodgy attempt and follow up with “we tried.”

  28. Cesc Appeal

    So we can see what’s coming here…Mari is shit and it’s a Sanllehi contacts buy, Mari is good and it’s sauce buy from Arteta and Edu.

    Arteta quite clearly seems to have been suggesting the CBs. The two we were most realistically linked with were Matviyenko and now Mari, Arteta suggestions.

    This one is on Arteta. If it’s a good buy then fantastic, if it’s not, so what? He made a suggestion in the middle of the season working within a tight budget that was outside the box displaying good general football knowledge and it didn’t work. Far rather that than hearing about the ‘qualideeeee’ Mustafi has and that Chambers will be ‘like a new signing’.

    Arteta is going to get criticized, you can’t defend and try to preemptively deflect for the next however long.

    Also, if you describe a player as a ‘contacts buy’ because Sanllehi knows their agent then basically everyone we buy is going to be a contacts buy. Sanllehi knows everyone, that is part of the reason we got him.

    If Arsenal want a player he can pick up the phone and personally contact the agent as a friend, skipping to the head of the pack.

  29. CG

    He is so slow.

    Look at the footage that’s coming through.
    Look at it and weep.

    What’s the Salahs ,Traores,Sons, Calvert Lewis’s, Vardys, Watfords quartet of rapod strikers going to do him.?

    The game is getting quicker

    And in recent seasons we seem to be recruiting more and more plodders.

    We will get roasted of we play ‘Louise’ and ‘Mary’ together at the back.

    It’s no surprise he never made it a City.

  30. Spanishdave

    Most CB s are not speed merchants they need to be readers of the game .
    Their marking and closing down qualities are key factors.
    He can head a ball and seems to be able to clear the danger quickly.
    Mustafi must go for his own good but who wants him?
    We need a mid though.

  31. China1

    Ishola like I always say, give the 4th place CL qualification spot to the FA cup winners and you’ll see the competition get a massive kick in value and prestige overnight

    It’s really quite ridiculous that 4th in the league gets a spot but the FA cup winner doesn’t

  32. Northbanker

    China – like that suggestion. It has my backing!!
    CG – no good quoting George Graham – game has moved on massively. GG did however always ensure he had a good selection of CBS – Keown, Linighan, Pates etc who couldn’t shift Adams and Bould.

    We need 5 CBS imo, one of which can be flexible. We have Luiz able to play DM. Chambers is a RB by trade. Sok, Mustafi and Mavropanos all likely to be moved on. So we have 5 and possibly 6 if we get Upamecano. That works for me as we may not exercise option over Mari unless he proves super quality (he is left footed btw which is useful)

  33. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    No to lemar he didn’t want to come a couple of years back so fuck him now.

    Would rather we looked elsewhere .

  34. Northbanker

    Each new CB signing should raise our defensive quality by at least 10%. We can’t just not sign someone because we have numerical quotas already. In an ideal world we’ll offload the minute a new signing is made

  35. Northbanker

    RSPC – an example of cutting your nose to spite your face.

    If he’s the best option now and he realises he made a mistake (maybe he didn’t fancy playing under the declining force of Wenger?) then surely we do the deal to improve the team?

  36. S Asoa

    Reg Wasi
    What one has against agent-driven deals is COTERIE ,a big bad word loaded in fiscal impudence

    Reg Emery signing , without absolving Gazidas , Raul was the only bloke who compreno what was going on .Unethically used Arteta dossier presentation to push the Fraud Emery. Highest treason would merit a firing squad in any Banana Republic

  37. Habesha Gooner

    One Good thing that comes with this Mari signing is we will see how shameless Mustafi might be. No one will take him on a bosman if he doesn’t have the self respect to want to play rather than sitting on his ass for the next 18 months.

  38. CG


    “””””Each new CB signing should raise our defensive quality by at least 10%.”””””””

    Well, not if they are as good as the ones you have in place.

    This Mari Chap- is just another Pascal Cygan type.

    Very tall, very left footed, very slow and very cheap to purchase ( thats why he has been pimped all over the globe and is playing in South America) he is nowhere near as good as Holding or Sok.

    They are proper defenders.
    If he was any good- he would not be playing in Brazil during his peak years.

    (Dont be so delightfully naive,)

  39. Habesha Gooner

    I don’t get athletico’s stance on lemar. Just because they spent 65 mil on him and he flopped any one that comes for him must pay the same price? That’s how market works, If your player is performing well his value skyrockets if not it drops. They don’t see us demanding 30 mil + for Mustafi do they.

  40. Champagne Charlie

    “This Mari Chap- is just another Pascal Cygan type.“

    Cygan was underrated, if were bringing in Cygan II for 7 mil you won’t find me complaining.

  41. Unai

    Me either CC.

    Personally think Mustafi is the worst CB I can remember in an Arsenal shirt and while I admire Sok for his battling qualities, I don’t think he’s much better.

  42. Gentlebris

    Well, we will see with Mari, but I think this move is brilliant under all microscopes.

    He played in a team Liverpool couldn’t win in regular time(and Liverpool have won 22 PL games out of 23 in ‘regular time’ this term), people who saw him play say he’s good and we are taking him on loan.

    Forgive me but I can’t see the bad in this. We have five months or so to check him out and if he happens to be a Flamengo wonder and just that, then we send him back to the place of his miracle, of course with love.

    And don’t bring no Man City not giving him a chance into this, Martinelli was turned down all around Europe before we took him.

  43. Batistuta

    Simeone has just about done all he can with Athletico Madrid i think, probably time for a change of scenario for him, they’ve been poor all season

  44. Nelson

    I find that the league cup and the FA cup are there to give teams and fans in those lower league teams a chance to make some money and fans to watch their team to play against those big team. England is known for its tradition. I have no problem with that. It will promote the game all over the country. If I were from a small city and grow up watching my home team every week, you think I wouldn’t want to see my team plays against an EPL team and have them play in my home town once.

  45. Kay

    Manu looking at southgate as ole s replacement.

    This is pure lols and i love it. Think Ed is a man city or pool supporter at heart?

    Brilliant.. Thank god and long it may continue.

  46. Kay

    Totts shambles..
    Manure shambles..
    Liecester fluuky..
    Chelsea inconsistent…

    Now is the time to accelerate, be aggressive and nail that top4 spot. Now is the time to pump in 150 mil. Fucker kroenke is letting us down big time.

  47. Marc


    If they do sack OGS which wouldn’t be a surprise then to go for Southgate would just be crazy especially with the Pooch and Allegri both available.

  48. Marc


    Not sure about that but apparently a queue of cars all driven by Arsenal fans is now stretching back 15 miles from Ozil’s home – all volunteering to drive him to the airport.

  49. Micheal

    “I’m sure DC United fans are jumping around in anticipation.”

    Sadly, he is not up to the Premier League on any consistent basis and the US soccer-ball stuff is just about his mark these days. A great shame because is a naturally gifted player. But if he cannot be bothered, why should we ?

  50. Aussie Gooner

    It really doesn’t really matter if your CBs are not the fastest players on the pitch as long as they can read the game and are in the right place at the right time to make a robust interception. Tony Adams wasn’t the quickest was he and I think he had quite a good career at Arsenal!

    Mari looks pretty crisp in the tackle, appears at the right places, heads the ball well and can find the long accurate pass to get the forward momentum going. 7m is the latest fee quoted – that’s chump change in this day and age. A bit of an unknown quantity but would you rather ‘gamble’ on some of the known quantities we have at the moment? ie Mustafi, Sok, Luiz, injured Chambers, non recovering Holding? I think not. We need upgrades and, as we do not have finite resources, I think this represents good business. If he doesn’t make the grade he can be loaned out for profit or sold to a lower league without much/any loss.

    Considering he made team of the year after six months in Brazil I would say it was a gamble worth taking. A few weeks ago I posted the top 10 selected players from the Brazilian league for 2018. All but two are now doing the business in Europe (including Lo Celso at the Spuds).

  51. Uwot?

    Kay-Manure poss adopting the “ little islander”mentality after the failures of van gaal,Maureen & the ya Fergie has stipulated no more “ Johnny Foreigner “ want Brits only for up & at em…

  52. Dream10

    Southgate to Utd means they stay away from Allegri, Pochettino, Simeone Ten Hag, Tuchel. More than alright by me!

  53. CG


    “”””Tranmere to beat MU?


    You Leave the pre match predictions to yours truly. I am expert on it.

    You go back to slagging off Arsene Wenger and Mezut Ozil. You are expert on that.

  54. Mr Serge

    CG yet again you complain about a player before he signs damn you are miserable you would moan if you woke up and a super model was giving you a blowjob

  55. Gentlebris

    ‘CG yet again you complain about a player before he signs damn you are miserable you would moan if you woke up and a super model was giving you a blowjob’

    And he should moan.

    Why should a bitch lick his dick uninvited?