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New defender Mari: I want to stay at Arsenal

Gunners’ loan signing from Flamengo is already keen to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium

07 February, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Pablo Mari: ‘I’d love to be at Arsenal for a long time and I hope to give the Gunners some victories to celebrate again’

PABLO Mari hasn’t even made his Arsenal debut yet, but the Spanish defender says he wants to commit his long-term future to the club.

The Gunners paid a fee of around £4million to Brazilian champions Flamengo last month to take the 26-year-old centre-back on loan for the remainder of the season.

It was Mikel Arteta’s first signing since taking over as Arsenal’s head coach in December.

Mari says he now wants to “repay the confidence” that Arteta has shown in him, and convince the north Londoners to fork out another £8m in the summer to make the deal permanent.

He also wants to follow in the footsteps of many of his compatriots who have played for the club, admitting that there is one Spaniard in particular that he hopes to emulate.

“There have been some wonderful Spanish players to play for Arsenal,” Mari told Arsenal Player.

“Fabregas, Cazorla, Reyes… they’re all great Spanish players that have passed through this club.

“One of those legends that we have with us now is Mikel. He was a very important player for Arsenal and now this is a new project for him as coach, but I think he’s going to repeat what he achieved when he was a player.

“Personally I look up to him and the career he had at Arsenal. That’s what I’ve been working for, all these years.

“I’d love to be at Arsenal for a long time and I hope to give the Gunners some victories to celebrate again.”

Mari is expected to be introduced to the Arsenal faithful when he makes his debut against Newcastle on February 16 at the Emirates Stadium.

And he is convinced that, under Arteta, he will play his part in a new “philosophy” that will bring the glory days back to the Gunners.

Mari added: “When you build a good group and have a coaching philosophy like Mikel’s, I think he can completely change Arsenal and the current dynamic around the team. He has a very good side with top players, and I think as time goes by, and with the day-to-day work from Mikel, we can achieve big change.”

Arteta was just as flattering towards his new number 22, saying he was pleased to finally have “a left-footed” centre-back in his squad.

The Gunners gaffer added: “Mari balances what I want to do from the back line, he gives more options, more solutions, he opens up the pitch more. He’s a player that we’ve been following for the last few months. We are really happy to have him.”

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