Two posts in one day? Why the hell not. We just signed a brand spanking new player (on loan).
Welcome, Pablo Mari!
The deal for the Spaniard was rumoured to have fallen through on Sunday, turns out he forgot his walle, THE DEAL WAS ALWAYS ON GOD BLESS DAVID ORNSTEIN AND THAT EXPENSIVE PAYWALL. The medical has been passed, Arteta lands a ball-playing defender with a great left foot, that can lead, and hold a highline.
The player had this to say on his Instagram.
Today is the time to face a new challenge in my career. I thank all the people without exception who were part of my story with @flamengo! These were unforgettable months, where I was able to live a dream with all of you. My thanks to the employees, members of the technical committee, comrades, and also to the entire RUBRO-NEGRA NATION. You will always be in my memory and my heart. ❤ Once Flamengo, always Flamengo 🎶 I will continue cheering for great achievements and vibrating with you! Gratitude, Pablo Marí.
On closer inspection, it does appear that we’ve taken quite the punt on Pablo. He made 22 appearances in Série A (Brazilian top league) and 6 in the Copa Libertadores (CL of SA which he won). That is a very small sample size of data unless we’re working off internal stats Arteta had on the player from his City days where he spent time out on loan at NAC Breda and Deportivo (in the second division).
This signing basically looks like the work of Edu. It’s a Hail Mary. If it works out, he’s the god of transfers. If it fails, well, he’ll go on the scrap heap of central defenders that have passed through the ranks over the last 20 odd years. Stepanovs/Cygan or Kolo/Koscielny. Worth noting that the club has taken punts on plenty of players who have played next to no first-team games at the highest level, Matteo G being a prime example, Gabriel being another… difference here is Mari is 26. Regardless, there might be a small sample to look at, but he won the biggest club trophy in Brazil, which is quite sexy imo.
What I like about him is his height and build. He’s a very Premier League looking player. The ultimate worry is the added pressure he’ll be under in England. Granit Xhaka looked like a true great in the Bundesliga, then he came here and had 0.4 seconds on the ball and he couldn’t handle it. That’s a hell of a learning curve to deal with and many top players have struggled with the adaptation needed.
Part of the concern that many of us have with any signing that comes through the door is that we don’t really trust the people looking after deals. Raul has overseen a pretty average 2 years, he shipped out his data man and went balls deep on some very odd signings.
Is this hire out of the data pool that identified Gabriel and Saliba? I damn well hope so. If it works, then we can have some faith that the summer is going to be an exciting one. This is what our Technical Director had to say.
“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality. We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season. Together with Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.”
Edu really should know a good player, he’s been around enough of them during his career. He knows what it takes to make it here.
One player who does look a sure-fire data-driven demon from the future is William Saliba. The Arsenal folks behind the scenes think he’s a generational talent and the word coming back from St Etienne is that he’s bossing training sessions, Debuchy feeding intel back to the club that he’s the real deal.
I still think it’s a huge ask to expect him to come right into the first team, but the more I watch him, the more I think he’s a freak and he’d adapt fairly quickly. If we’re a 3 year project, next year could be about bedding in wild talent, then we go big the year after and push for honours.
We could go from a poverty defence to one that looks pretty good next season. Holding, Saliba, Luiz and Mari. Hector, Tierney, AMN, and Kola. You can work with that. Even if the talent isn’t quite there, this Arsenal side is developing a defensive structure that is built on the entire team doing its bit, so reliance on individual brilliance is not as important as it used to be. We are hard to break down after a month of Arteta, imagine what we’ll be like next season with better players more suited to the vision?
Sur une salsa, William Saliba et sa partenaire, Wissam Ben Yedder. pic.twitter.com/iPT2cNvsCO
— Tac (@EtienneShkPnk) January 28, 2020
I think the most important area that’ll need work in the summer is finding players that can move the ball between the lines in midfield. We really struggle there, part of that is a lack of players, part of that is a lack of athleticism in the middle of the park. Joe Willock can accelerate through the lines because he’s powerful, we need more players like that. Our whole squad should be built on power and pace because that has always been the only way to survive the Premier League.
Layer forward-thinking ideas over athletes and you really are in a good place.
We’re bringing Cedric Soares to the club (Ornstein). The 27-year-old right-back is in on a loan with a view to a permanent deal. This from a Southampton fan.
‘Well past it, and wasn’t brilliant in the first place – would say decent enough lower third of the Barclays full-back.’
Coaching staff are going to have their work cut out here.
Right, listen to my podcast and have a wonderful day.