Former Brazilian international Rivaldo says that Arsenal’s new signing Pablo Mari will ‘fit in very well’ at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal head into a crucial period that will define their Premier League season.
The 26-year-old joined the Gunners from Brazilian side Flamengo on loan for the remainder of the league campaign in late January, with an option to make the deal permanent in the summer if the move works out well for both parties.
In an interview with Standard Sport, Rivaldo said: “I think Pablo Mari will fit in very well at Arsenal and in the Premier League.
“He is a good player that struggled to impose himself in Europe as a loaned player of Man City for a while, but he really convinced people being part of a great Flamengo team last season.”
Mari spent the early years of his career at Mallorca, playing regularly for their B team and only playing a couple of times for the first team, before moving on to fellow Spanish side Gimnastic in 2013.
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After spending three successful seasons in Tarragona, Manchester City secured his signature, although he was shipped off to Italy, the Netherlands and back to Spain in three loan spells before signing for Flamengo last summer in a bid to revive his career.
This move worked out very well for the centre-back, and Rivaldo was very vocal on what Mari could bring to Arsenal, who have been poor defensively in recent years under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery.
Rivaldo continued: “He is very complete as a defender – capable of bringing the ball forward when necessary and a threat on set pieces. He has good passing skills as well and I liked what I saw from him.
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“In Brazil, everyone has good opinion about him, and he could be a very successful option for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta.”
It will not be an easy task for the Spanish centre-back to force his way into the Arsenal side, with Sokratis, David Luiz and Shkordran Mustafi all battling to start for the Gunners.
Despite this, mixed form at the back has left the once-Champions League and Europa League finalists in a mid-table Premier League scrap.
The game away at Burnley last weekend seemed to have come too quickly for Mari, who was excluded from the match day squad.
However, he could make his debut next Sunday against Newcastle United (4.30pm) at the Emirates Stadium.
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