Pablo Mari: Pros and cons of an unknown centre back

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. The Brazilian league is much slower than the Premier League, it is easier to stand out there.
  3. 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’

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. He looked mighty fine against Liverpool’s best starting 11, keeping all the pace monsters quiet by reading the game like peak-Maldini.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


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.

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188 Responses to “Pablo Mari: Pros and cons of an unknown centre back”

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  1. Tom

    The defence of Nuno is something else, for all the plaudits, he’s spent 180m next in his first two seasons in the EPL (with the home advantage of a super agent pulling levers) and he’s managed 4 more points than the worst Arsenal team of the last 20 years so far this season. Low-balling with your ambition there chaps.


    He’s spent 180m but from what level?
    Surely it makes a difference when you add a 180m worth of talent to a top six PL club as supposed to one that just got promoted , no?

    He’s also even on points with a free spending Man U , and the CL finalists Spurs, who had one of the sauciest managers around before another saucy manager took over. So not just down on their luck Arsenal then is it.

  2. Jamie

    Ramsey had no business being offered a £400k a week deal anywhere but China.

    No sympathy whatsoever for Juve, who will be saddled with him for at least another season. Luckily for them, Ramsey seems like a straight-shooter and would probably take a massive pay cut to facilitate a move away if he continues to be a bench player for much longer.

    Would’ve probably been made captain here had he stayed and agreed to £140k a week. Arteta would’ve loved his energy (whenever he was fit enough to play).

    p.s. Pete, did you ban Marko?

  3. Dissenter

    Let peace roll on man.
    We know where you stand on this
    You know where we stand
    What’s the point of all the quibbling on the day Kobe died? There are bigger things to worry about.

  4. Dissenter

    Part of the Ramsey problem at Juve is that he committed to them in January thinking he was going to wrk with Allegri, only to be saddled with Sarri by May 2019.
    I doubt he would have signed had he known Sarri would be appointed. They will probably loan him out nest season to Everton or something. We can’t afford his wages.

  5. Jamie

    Imagine Ramsey was like Mustafi, happy to sit on his ass and take the money for the next 3.5 years or whatever.

    Crazy stuff from Juve. £400k a week. Mbappe money right there.

  6. Jamie

    Pete –

    My sources tell me we couldn’t afford his wages. He had ample time to sign up for £140k a week. In the end, he secured himself 3 times that amount at a bigger club.

    No-brainer. On some level, they all ‘want to stay’, except when a better offer comes along (bigger club/chance of silverware, more money, innovative coaching, …).

    He’s always been a solid player, fitness issues aside. But his pay packet at Juve is bananas. He’s gotta be in the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world, no? Unjustifiable on any level, including Bamford’s “top 33” or whatever the fuck it was.

  7. Pedro

    Jamie, he was sitting on the biggest deal of his career then they yanked it.

    He wasn’t getting Ozil money here, but it was better than moving to Italy with a young family.

    I liked Ramsey, wasn’t fussed he went, but hoped we’d replace his energy. Alas…

  8. Jamie

    ” but hoped we’d replace his energy. Alas…”

    Yep, super poor squad planning, but we’ve seen that movie before. Like going hard for Higs to replace RVP’s goals, then Ozil is ushered in instead on deadline day.

    Do you know at what point we yanked Ramsey’s deal? He signed a pre-contract in Feb. Couldn’t he have signed during the previous summer when he had 12 months left on his existing contract? Why wait so long to sign the damn thing?

    Seems like he was primed for a few whispers into his ear from his agents being like “mate, just hold off a little longer and we’ll see if secure something better for you either here, or elsewhere.”

    Decent players have most of the leverage when they’re entering the final year of their contract. In Ramsey’s case, as was said at the time, he played an absolute blinder.

    Still not sure why he didn’t re-up with us in the summer though. I’m not convinced he was that desperate to stay. Sees Ozil on £350k a week and rightly thinks he deserves parity, and is probably rightly offended when only half that amount is offered.

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    Why is he saying these things? Where’s the ruthlessness? Do we now have to watch Mustafi amble around spraying his defense splitting (for the other team) passes around and go into rash challenges on a weekly basis?

    Just bin him ffs, haven’t we been through enough already, isn’t the attempted resurrection of Ozil and Xhaka project enough for Arteta.

    Subsidize his salary if necessary, just get him out of the club.

  10. Pedro

    Jamie, you can look it up… but I think it was 3rd week of September we pulled the deal. Then Emery dropped him and hardly played him.

  11. Thorough

    Spare a few minutes for Yogi. Stuart, Yogi, the writer of A Cultured Left Foot has passed on. A loss to the Arsenal World just now that things are looking up.

  12. Emiratesstroller

    I think that there is too much importance being attached to the Mari signing which is I understand is a “loan with option to buy”.

    First this player is a replacement for Mavropanos who has been sent out on
    loan in similar circumstances. Mari is not costing us mega bucks.

    Second the club has already spent more than its annual transfer budget in the
    current financial year. They are not in in a position to spend £50-70 million on
    a top class Centre Back.

    Finally Arsenal is a “rebuild” job particularly in midfield and defence. These
    departments are unlikely to be resolved quickly.

    Personally I would much rather that the club keeps its “powder dry” in January
    rather than spend money on a player unlikely to be part of our longterm future.

    Arteta’s priority at the moment must be to make a proper assessment and improvement of current squad and start winning rather than drawing games.

  13. Wasi

    Rambo was a super player for us and has potential to be even better in the right system.
    Had he signed a new contract with us then he would have easily been a 50m player.
    Considering Juve or any other sign him for 50 and then hand him a 200k a week contract and stays for 3 years before being sold. How would the financial effects be for the club.

    Lets do some calculations
    Real life scenario
    He is earning 400k a week apparently and went for free. So if he stays for 3 years would cost Juve around 67 mil. (400,000 *56*3)

    Imaginary scenario had he been on a contract

    Could have easily been sold for 50m or more considering his importance to the team. Lets assume 50 m on 200k a week.
    That would amount to around 33m on wages for 3 years. Factor in transfer of 50m.
    Thats a total outlay of 83 m

    Easy to see why Juve opted to sign Rambo for 400k a week on Bosman transfer other than going for an alternative that would have cost them much more

    Juve are run by excellent people. They know when to pay and who to pay for. Ofc they’ve thought of the consequences of handing such a big deal
    But a fully fit Rambo is imo worth it .

  14. Sid

    Freddie LjungbergJanuary 27, 2020 00:35:36 is he saying these things? Where’s the ruthlessness? Do we now have to watch Mustafi amble around spraying his defense splitting (for the other team) passes around and go into rash challenges on a weekly basis?

    Arsenalization is real!
    ION Ramsey benched 400k a week, atleast ozil is on 350k looool,

    Im telling you this for free!

  15. Habesha Gooner

    I hope Arteta is saying these things about mustafi so that he may be encouraged to go and try a new team. If not that is a huge red flag regarding arteta. Turning a fan opinion tide around is tough let alone after being this expensive horrible signing. The last player to truly turn it around was Monreal and he wasn’t as brain dead as mustafi. He is done here. Let him Improve somewhere else.

  16. SP

    Arsenal cannot afford to pay 400k per week to a player like Ramsey who has lot of injury issues. We are already making losses due to missing out on CL and paying ridiculous wages to players like Ozil.

  17. Ivan

    Habesha – Arteta is a bit cornered here, dont You think?

    He is avare there wont be squad refreshment made with 200mil per transfer window.

    We have injury ravaged defence that is not good enough when they are all fit.

    Obviously he need every healthy defender to be on board so there is no sense in publicly condemning any of our cb-s (this goes to most of our team).

    If You take all of this into account best way possible for Arteta is to continue this clean slate policy with nice pinch of who works hard will play.

    Worst it can happen is our players dont give a fuck and continue to be bad.
    With some of them it might work and they pull their fingers out of… and start playing to Arteta standard.

  18. Unai

    Don’t want to sound too critical Pedro but the creditability of your opinion on our back room team went down the swanni when you let Ivan tickle your balls and you came back to sell us all progress and rainbows.

    The majority of what you write is opinion, no need to dress it up as something it’s not, particularly as we all have eyes.

    The idea that Raul has come to Arsenal to fleece us is laughable, if your going to pick a mark then you don’t go for the tightest fisted (and most skint big club) around.

  19. Unai

    I can’t remember the quote but didn’t Arteta say something along the lines of blow smoke up their areas until the point you push them out the door?

    I can only hope he’s just trying to improve Mustafi to increase his resale value and improve team harmony.

  20. Graham62


    Spot on.

    For years we were stitched up by a regime (Wenger and Gazidis) who were so flawed, it was painfully obvious to anyone that understood the basic workings of a competitive working environment.

    Amazingly though, some were prepared to ignore the regressive signs and carry on applauding the moral and ethical codes of his and Wenger’s philosophies and methods.

    Gazidis was, to put it mildly, an utter sleezeball and his cringeworthy rhetoric showed just how out of touch he was with the fanbase. The fact that so many fans accepted his methods has always astounded me, as it was blatantly obvious that he and Wenger were not the dream team that so many thought they were.

    It was infact Gazidis and Wenger who “fleeced us”

    Of that there is no doubt.

  21. Gentlebris

    ‘No-brainer. On some level, they all ‘want to stay’, except when a better offer comes along (bigger club/chance of silverware, more money, innovative coaching, …).’

    Shit chat this one.

    Ramsey’s contract was pulled and the man tearfully demanded why. Never have I seen a genuinely sadder footballer on the pitch than Ramsey after that idiotic decision by Raul and co. No wonder my friend CG hunts down their collective ass every time he’s on patrol.

  22. Gentlebris

    ‘The idea that Raul has come to Arsenal to fleece us is laughable, if your going to pick a mark then you don’t go for the tightest fisted (and most skint big club) around.’

    You have not the slightest idea how a fella like Raul operates.

    If he wanted to fleece a club, where would he go? Madrid? Bayern? Juve? PSG? Chelsea?

    In any of those places he either wouldn’t be welcome or be seated in a chair with cameras all around him.

    If you want to fleece a club you come to Kroenke’s Arsenal, especially when coming from Barca.
    Then you ‘reveal’ how things are done at Barca to them and pledge your ‘absolute loyalty’ to father and son. You ask if you could kiss their asses at every difficult bend. Then you build you fleecing network and take the club to the launders, while pretending to serve the young and old.

  23. Pierre

    I’m sure Aaron Ramsey will have clubs queuing up for his services.
    Who wouldn’t want a goalscoring box to box midfielder.

    Of course we all know why there won’t be any club making a move for him.
    It’s nothing to do with his ability on the football pitch, it’s all to do with the size of his wage packet.

    I think we’ve heard this story before, and we know how it ends.

    1)A club awards a massive contract to a player.
    2) the manager leaves and a new manager comes in who doesn’t fancy him and benches him.
    3) The new manager marginalizes said player from the team .
    4) the player sits tight in the hope the new manager gets sacked and the club bring in a new coach who rates him.
    5) The club try to force the player out but he won’t take a drop in wages so no club are willing to make such a commitment.
    6) some ignorant fans blame the player when of course it is the clubs fault for offering such a ridiculous contract.

    Let’s see how this story ends for Ramsey, is he prepared to sit and wait for a chance , in the knowledge that deep down he knows the new manager doesn’t rate him, or will he take a substantial drop in wages to play football.

  24. Pierre

    “It was infact Gazidis and Wenger who “fleeced us””

    For years we had the Emirates crowd urging Wenger to” spend some f*cking money ” .

    Unless I’m mistaken, ” fleecing” the club is taking money from the club for your own personal gain.

    Maybe you expected Wenger to work for nothing and pay the bank loans for the stadium move out of his own pocket.

  25. Jamie

    “Ramsey’s contract was pulled and the man tearfully demanded why.”

    Shit chat this one. Why didn’t he sign in the summer, and how do you know he cried when his contract was pulled?

  26. Graham62

    If Ozil was on £500k a week and was performing consistently to a high level , I would be happy. The thing is he doesn’t and never will.

    We all know the club was stupid to give him such a “ridiculous contract” and we all know why this was done and, significantly, who was to blame for this.

    Marginalising Ozil only came about because of his attitude. Even now, under Arteta, his attitude still stinks.

    That’s always been the case.