Exclusive interview with Brazilian football expert Paulo Freitas on Pablo Mari
As the clock struck 12 on January the 1st, Arsenal were linked with and searching for players to improve the team, to suit the Mikel Arteta style and importantly to sure up the leaky defence.
Dayot Upamecano, Nathan Ake and most recently Mykola Matviyenko have all been mentioned over the past month, but a name not mentioned was Flamengo towering centre back Pablo Mari, yet he is the man Arsenal have tasked with helping the Arsenal defence.
A player no doubt that Mikel Arteta has been aware of since he joined the Manchester City coaching ranks, as he was with the Cityzens from 2016 until 2019 when he joined Brazilian champions Flamengo.
To find out more about the Spaniard, I spoke to Brazilian football expert Paulo Freitas
JH) This deal seems to have come out of the blue for many fans in Europe, has it been that way to your knowledge in Brazil?
PF) Arsenal’s offer has been a surprise in Brazil as well, it was widely expected that Flamengo would not lose any starters, apart from maybe Gabriel Barbosa.
JH) Arsenal have been needing a centre back for some time now, what qualities and weaknesses will Pablo Mari be bringing to the team?
PF) Marí is left-footed, he is very tall and very good in the air, has good positioning and his technique and passing are fairly good for a defender, his main weakness is that he is somewhat slow.
JH) Pablo Mari is a bit of an unknown character in England what is his profile in Brazil?
PF) Marí was completely unknown in Brazil before he joined Flamengo, pundits and fans alike were sceptical about how he would do in Brazil. However, he quickly established himself at the club, and he is currently fairly highly rated.
JH) Finally, how do you feel Pablo Mari will adjust to the Premier league and Mikel Arteta’s passing game?
PF) I think his technique and passing abilities mean he can fit in well at Mikel Arteta’s passing game, just like he fitted in well at Jorge Jesus’ Flamengo. It should be easier for him to quickly adapt to England due to his time spent at Manchester City.
You can find Paulo on twitter among many places at @Cynegeticus
Pablo Mari, well he will be at the Arsenal.
In addition, our Editor, Dave Seager asked the boys at the Arsenal Brazilian SC (@Arsenal_Brazil)if they were excited by The Arsenal signing Mari?
” Not at all man. seems like a very odd one. He was good last season here in Brazil, but he played for a very dominant side (which still conceded more than they should). But he’s very good in the air, he had no match in set pieces, etc. Other than that it’s kind of up in the air for me, since in a dominant side even Joe Gomez can look like a million dollars.”
In Summary from what we have discovered talking to those who have watched him the Pros seem to outweigh the Cons
Pros: Left-footed, dominant in the air, good technique, and great passing ability.
Cons: A bit slow, untested in the Premier League and in a side not dominating.
Let’s hope his evident strengths outweigh his lack of pace!