Arsenal have confirmed that defender Pablo Marí has joined Serie A side Monza, on a loan deal that becomes an obligation if the team avoids relegation, thought to be in the region of £5m. It was thought that Marí would potentially join other Serie A side Hellas Verona, with the club reportedly agreeing a £4.22m deal, however, Marí opted for Monza’s offer instead.
Marí spent the second half of last season on loan at Udinese, however, the Italian side were unable to complete a deal with Arsenal to bring the player back permanently.
The decision to loan Marí out is owing to a perceived lack of game time in his area. While Marí is the only left-footed central defender at the club besides Gabriel Magalhães, Arsenal are already very loaded in the central defensive area.
This season, Mikel Arteta will need to juggle game time among Rob Holding, Benjamin White, William Saliba and the aforementioned Gabriel – meaning that Marí will find first-team opportunities thin on the ground.
Marí’s time with Arsenal has been something of a mixed bag.
Initially, Marí was signed as a left-footed central defender, one that Arsenal desperately needed at the time, however, injuries, suspensions and the much-improved form of Gabriel Magalhães has seen Marí increasingly sidelined.
Though a model professional on and off the pitch, last season proved to be the breaking point for many, as he was deemed to be at fault for many of Arsenal’s conceded goals at the start of the season.
In fact, Marí’s performances began to have such an impact on the team, that he was not involved in a Premier League matchday squad between the 18th of September and Boxing Day, only making one appearance for the squad in that time, in the 3-0 home win over Wimbledon.
In January, Marí was loaned to Udinese, where he was an ever-present figure in the team’s defence, missing only one game through suspension.
During pre-season, Marí has been a constant starter as Mikel Arteta builds-up for the new season, however, it has been clear that Marí’s performances have not been up to par and the Spaniard has perhaps shown indication that the fast-paced, high-pressing team that Mikel Arteta is building is not the right fit for the 28-year-old defender.
Marí’s move is the latest in a series of departures from the club. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno joined Fulham for a reported £8m last week, Nuno Tavares has joined Marseille on loan, while Lucas Torreira has joined Galatasaray for around £7.5m. The club are still trying to sort out the future of Héctor Bellerín, who wishes to rejoin Real Betis.