Charlie Nicholas has told Sky Sports that he thinks Arsenal should avoid the permanent signing of centre-back Pablo Mari after the Spanish ace was taken off during the first half of the Gunners’ 3-0 loss to Manchester City with an injury.
Mari, 26, joined Arsenal on a loan-to-buy deal in the January transfer window as one of two signings made by Mikel Arteta – along with right-back Cedric Soares. Mari, though, has only managed three Gunners appearances.
Having impressed in a new style of Brazilian team under Jorge Jesus at Flamengo – which won the Copa Libertadores and reached the Club World Cup final – Mari is yet to concede a goal in Arsenal colours.
Indeed, clean sheets against League One side Portsmouth and then West Ham in the Premier League – Mari was substituted on Wednesday night with an ankle injury as the score read 0-0. Nicholas, though, believes Arsenal should avoid signing him.
“For five seasons, Arsenal cannot seem to find a centre-half – for all the centre-backs in the world they cannot find one. Arteta has inherited this team, and it has been a disaster defensively. Pablo Mari is not the answer I don’t think,” Nicholas said.
TBR’s view – Mari should be given a chance
Arsenal paid £4million to sign him on loan in January, and must pay £8million to make that deal permanent – as per the Standard. Having already paid the initial outlay, surely it is worth spending the rest of the sum to give Mari a chance?
Though he has only played three times for Arsenal, Mari has impressed. Against Portsmouth, he was assured and strong against a side that tried to cause an upset. A clean sheet against West Ham followed.
Even to begin with against Man City, Mari looked calm, composed and solid. That all changed when Luiz entered the field of play. Nicholas could be right – Mari may not be the answer, but he should at least be given a chance.