Pablo Marí has joined Italian side Udinese on loan for the remainder of the season. There is no purchase option or obligation inserted into the deal.
Marí has struggled for game time this season, having started the opening 2 matches of the season, he was later dropped to the bench for the matches against West Brom, Manchester City, Norwich and Burnley and from then on, was missing from the first-team for the next 18 weeks, punctuated only with an appearance at home to Wimbledon.
Marí’s time at the club this season will not be forgotten in a hurry, after he was spun inside out by Romelu Lukaku in the team’s 0-2 defeat to Chelsea.
The reason for Marí’s sudden drop from the first-team is unknown. Marí was seen animatedly conversing with Mikel Arteta from the bench against West Brom, and was curiously only handed 1 appearance since.
The Spaniard’s absence has not necessarily been a cause for concern for Arsenal, especially given the recent form of Gabriel Magalhães, but his exclusion is intriguing nonetheless.
It was initially thought that Marí would return to former-side Flamengo in January, but the player preferred to remain in Europe.
Marí started off his career at Mallorca in Spain, before eventually joining Gimnàstic and then joining Manchester City, though he never played a game for them before he shipped off to Flamengo in Brazil.
His performances in Brazil caught the eye of Arsenal, who were in desperate need of a left-footed central defender for Mikel Arteta’s system.
Arsenal had the choice between Marí and Vitaliy Mykolenko (now at Everton), with Arteta opting for Marí, citing his aerial presence as the key decision-maker.
Marí’s left-footedness was what attracted Arsenal to him, but he was only ever able to make 3 appearances for the club in his first season, owing to a long-term injury.
The form of Gabriel Magalhães has since hampered Marí”s return to the team and he has been out of luck with regards to finding game time ever since.
A move to Serie A will grant him some much needed minutes and may even give the Italian side the ability to consider a future fee, should he prove successful, with Arsenal seemingly in favour of the idea of allowing Marí to leave permanently.
Marí is the latest out of the door at the club this January, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles joining AS Roma on loan, Folarian Balogun being loaned to Middlesbrough and Sead Kolašinac reportedly on his way to Marseille, while Arsenal turn their attentions to midfield (Arthur Melo is thought to be of interest) and the possible signing of Dušan Vlahović.