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Arsenal defender Pablo Mari delivered another solid performance for the Gunners during the weekend’s narrow loss to his former club, Manchester City.
The 27-year-old was on the league leaders’ books once, a fact that is often overlooked given that the center-back never appeared in the first team for the Cityzens.
City signed Mari for £ 180k from Spanish team Gimnastic de Tarragona in 2016 and he was immediately put on loan to Girona. After nine appearances with the club, he was called up at the end of the season and headed to the Netherlands to spend the 2017/18 campaign with NAC Breda.
After a third assignment, this time with Deportivo de La Coruña in his native Spain, Mari was sold to Flamengo for 1.53 million pounds, with which he won the Brazilian championship and the Copa Libertadores 2019.
Mari may have technically been a Manchester City player for three years, but her career there was not an event. Despite that, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal saw enough of the player to convince them that a permanent signing was worth signing after an initial loan deal with the Gunners.
The defender has traveled extensively and has now represented clubs in England, Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. Arsenal have had to get creative in the transfer market in recent seasons and there were questions about the player when he was initially brought to the club.
However, he has proven to be a solid cover and a capable MP. Having freed Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi and loaned William Saliba during the January window, Mari is one of the four central halves that Arteta now regularly selects from.
Since moving to England’s capital, Mari has sadly suffered various injuries and has been restricted to just ten games with the Gunners.
The term ‘former Manchester City defender’ when referring to Mari probably feels a bit misleading, even if it’s technically correct. But his time at the club probably helped open the door to show his talent at a higher level than the one he was already competing at.
So while he will hardly go down as a city legend, it could be argued that he had the career he had due to the fact that the club chose him in 2016.