The dust is starting to settle on the Pablo Mari signing (which hasn’t been confirmed yet) and there’s lots of back and forth about the validity of the hire.
There are two camps. One that says we should be happy we’ve just signed a Copa Libertadores winner. The other that thinks the standard of football over there is for chumps.
I don’t really know where I stand on this signing.
For me, I have a few worries.
- City and Arteta passed on him for 3 years and let him go for sub £1.5m and no one in Europe came in with a deal longer than a year.
- The Brazilian league is much slower than the Premier League, it is easier to stand out there.
- He looks quite slow, which isn’t ideal in a league that is more intense and has players like Traore destroying careers on the weekly.
I also have a few, ‘well, this could be interesting’
- We are not City, they have an outrageously high threshold for talent. Being ‘not good enough’ for a team that was dropping 98+ points in the league is no shame
- Players grow, especially centre backs. Name the best centre backs in the world at the moment, most of them are in their late twenties early 30s. Pablo is 26 years old, about prime time to start showing what he’s made of.
- He looked mighty fine against Liverpool’s best starting 11, keeping all the pace monsters quiet by reading the game like peak-Maldini.
- We are skint. Arteta has picked up a piggy bank filled with air. So you can bitch all you like, but unless you know a cheap centre back that’s available now and willing to join, then we really are bumming around at the bottom of the barrel.
- He’s a winner. He won the biggest trophy in South American football and he played a big role in it. Flamingo played a daring style of football that captivated the world, Pablo ran a high line, he made his lack of pace work, and he led like a warrior.
- I don’t mind curveball signings. It’s what we need to be doing. Sometimes they work, sometimes they fail. Remember, Arsene Wenger made a living out of ‘who the fuck’ signings way back when. Remember Gilberto? What a game-changer that was. Remember Néstor Fabián Caballero? Of course you don’t, he played 1 game.
I think we’re basically in a ‘shut up and support the player’ space.
To clarify the comments on agent hanger-ons yesterday. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t engage with Super Agents, it’s often unavoidable. Look at Dortmund and what they had to do to bring Haaland to their team. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t be letting these people set the agenda for us, and we shouldn’t be asking players and managers to switch agents to land moves to Arsenal, as is alleged by Phil Costa with the Ukrainian guy, and what seemed to happen with Unai Emery.
Arturo Canales is a name that comes up again and again. He should never have been allowed to influence Arsenal on who the new manager should have been post-Wenger, yet he was. Was he also advising Raul to give Emery a new deal? Was he the one lobbying for Emery to stay on longer than he did? Who knows… a proper club is not swayed by anyone outside the brain trust installed to advise it.
‘WOULD YOU COMPLAIN IF IT WORKED’
Again, a dim counter-argument. Outside the fact we’re sitting in 10th after investing £200m in the squad, being led by agents or a coterie of outside advisors has not helped many of the major clubs. You need look no further than Manchester United to see what opening your world to the whims of people with vested interests in themselves can do to a prestigious operation. As a fan, you should want your football club to have elite internal talent that can make decisions about talent without the outside nudge of an agent looking to move bodies around their network. Liverpool are case in point. They are not run by outsiders. They are run by an elite crew of world-class people that inform their decisions on cutting edge data. You can doubt some of the players they sign, but never the reasons why, because there will always be a robust rationale as to ‘why.’
Same couldn’t be said as to why we signed Dennis Suarez last season, right?
Hopefully, our Technical Director is of a modern mindset, and this deal is about his understanding of the Brazilian league. Hope, hope, hope.
Right, BIG GAME tomorrow as we have the chance to redeem ourselves in the FA Cup against Bournemouth. Can’t wait. See you in the comments.
P.S. Talking of the comments section. We need to do better. Keep it to the football because stealth red cards are coming out with 6 match bans. Trolling, incessant arguing of old points, or just being a bitch are all cardable offences.