Arsenal defender Pablo Mari turned in another solid display for the Gunners during the weekend’s narrow defeat at the hands of his former club Manchester City.
The 27-year-old was on the league leaders’ books once upon a time, a fact that often goes by the wayside given the centre-back never made a first-team appearance for the Cityzens.
City brought Mari in for £180k from Spanish outfit Gimnastic de Tarragona in 2016 and he was immediately sent out on loan to Girona. Having made nine appearances for the club, he was recalled at the end of the season and made his way to the Netherlands to spend the 2017/18 campaign with NAC Breda.
After a third loan spell, this time with Deportivo La Coruna in his native Spain, Mari was sold to Flamengo for £1.53m, with whom he won the Brazilian championship as well as the 2019 Copa Libertadores.
Mari may have technically been a Manchester City player for three years but his career there was a non-event. Despite that, Mikel Arteta and Arsenal saw enough in the player to convince them he was worth signing on a permanent transfer after an initial loan spell with the Gunners.
The defender is well travelled having now represented clubs in England, Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. Arsenal have had to be creative in the transfer market in recent seasons and there were question marks about the player when he was initially brought to the club.
However, he has proven himself to be solid cover and a capable deputy. Having released Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi and loaned William Saliba during the January window, Mari is one of the four centre-halves Arteta now regularly selects from.
Since making the switch to England’s capital, Mari has unfortunately suffered from a number of injuries and he has been restricted to just ten appearances for the Gunners.
The term ‘former Manchester City defender’ when referring to Mari probably feels a little misleading, even if it’s technically correct. But his time at the club likely helped open the door for him to showcase his talent at a higher level than that at which he was already competing.
So while he will hardly go down as a City legend, you could argue he’s had the career he’s had due to the fact the club picked him up back in 2016.