Pablo Mari Says He Wants to Stay with Arsenal Beyond Loan

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 9, 2020

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Pablo Mari of Arsenal FC looks on prior to the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal FC U23s and Chelsea FC U23s at Meadow Park on February 17, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
James Chance/Getty Images

Arsenal defender Pablo Mari has said he is happy in north London and wants to stay with the club beyond his current loan deal.

The 26-year-old told reporters he is targeting a long stay at the Gunners following his January move from Brazilian side Flamengo:

“I am so happy here. I am going to try and do my best until the end of the season. I hope also the club is happy with me and then we are going to find a good end (of the season) for everybody. I want to play a lot of years here with Arsenal. It is another situation and I am really happy now."

Mari has only played in two games since his winter switch but has helped the Gunners keep clean sheets in both appearances.

He played 90 minutes in the FA Cup fifth-round win at Portsmouth at Fratton Park and followed that up with a home debut in Saturday's Premier League victory over West Ham United:

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The Spaniard was brought in to strengthen a struggling Arsenal defence that had looked vulnerable in the first half of 2019-20. The Gunners had also seen Calum Chambers ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

Mari has played for a host of clubs in his career, including Real Mallorca and Manchester City, but he arrived at Arsenal after helping Flamengo win the Brazilian Serie A title and the Copa Libertadores in 2019.

Arsenal paid an initial £4 million to bring him to the Emirates Stadium and can make the deal permanent in the summer if they pay another £8 million, according to Sky Sports.

Arsenal writer Dan Critchlow has offered his early thoughts on Mari:

Manager Mikel Arteta praised Mari after his performance in the 1-0 win over West Ham in his post-match press conference:

"I think he was very good and in the first half he took a few moments to sort out what he needed to do. He's brave, he's willing, he's impressive without the ball and he has a presence. He is very vocal around his team even if he's only been two days here, but he has that ability and that character. I'm really pleased with him."

Mari was widely regarded as something of a gamble when Arsenal brought him in during the January transfer window, but he has made a positive start to his career with the Premier League side.

The Spaniard will be hoping to cement a place in the starting XI between now and the end of the campaign but faces a tough test next time out when Arsenal take on Manchester City on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.