The forgotten man of Arsenal may well hold the key to our next few seasons in terms of success.
The Spanish central defender joined Arsenal in January initially on a loan deal but this was made permanent as part of our summer transfer business. The same pattern was completed with Cedric Soares.
Pablo Mari has made just two appearances for the club in his time here. Yet the 27 year old is in prime position to step up and be the lynchpin in our defence when he does return to full fitness.
Mari earned rave reviews for his performances at Flamengo, becoming the first Spaniard to win the Copa Libertadores in his season in Brazil. His reputation as a cultured defender meant he was perfect to come into Mikel Arteta’s plans, where a possession-based ethos and playing out from the back is ideal for Mari.
We have seen precious little of the man who was signed for Manchester City back in 2016 but failed to make an appearance. But if the reports, the videos and Mikel Arteta and his backroom staff are accurate, then Mari can fill the void left by the experienced David Luiz and form a central defence with Gabriel Magalhaes.
With Rob Holding fighting for his place and showing great tenacity, the English defender has a spot in our squad. But passing ability and composure on the ball will count almost as much as defending for anyone looking to play in an Arteta defence. Calum Chambers earned his spot with some titanic displays before he was injured last December, but the Englishman will have to show that not only can he repel defences, but he can put his foot on the ball too.
David Luiz has excelled in the most part for Arteta but time is not on his side. With William Saliba in need of some polishing, it leaves Pablo Mari, if he can stay fit, to lead from the back and show the rest how to play the Arteta way.
For a player who has made so few appearances, the opportunity for Pablo Mari is a huge one.