Premier League • England

Arteta experiment proves costly as Arsenal man ‘tired’ of being benched

Pablo Mari hugs Mikel Arteta after an Arsenal win, 2020

Arsenal fringe player Pablo Mari is ‘tired’ of being left out of the side by Mikel Arteta and could return to his former club, it’s been claimed.

Mari, 28, was the first player Arteta brought in after being appointed Gunners boss in late 2019. He joined initially on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo before the move was made permanent last year.

Arteta had become familiar with the centre-back after they both joined Manchester City in 2016.

The Spanish manager decided to take a gamble on his fellow countryman, despite Mari not playing a single match under Pep Guardiola during his three-year spell with City.

And that decision has ultimately not paid off. Mari has cost the north London club roughly £12m in fees so far, and in return they’ve had just 22 games out of him.

What’s more, he’s on a staggering weekly wage of £85k at the Emirates.

For every 10 appearances he makes, Arsenal have to pay Flamengo €1m up to the value of €8m. At present, they are not letting him near the first team.

Mari is unsatisfied with his predicament, according to Mauro Sant’Anna, a Flamengo dedicated YouTuber.

And his old side want to bring him back as a result. They would like to take him on loan instead of re-signing him.

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His extortionate wages would need to be subsided by the Gunners for this to happen, though. Flamengo could not afford them otherwise.

Mari’s contract runs until 2024, so Arsenal have rather backed themselves into a corner. He is a costly expense sitting on the sidelines.

Arteta started him in the first two Premier League matches of the season. He had a torrid time up against Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea, and was dropped as a shift to a back five followed for the next match.

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Arteta shuts down Wilshere talk

Meanwhile, Arteta has insisted Arsenal have no plans to sign Jack Wilshere, despite an impending midfield crisis that threatens to undermine the Gunners’ climb up the Premier League.

Their excellent start to the season could be under threat when the African Cup of Nations rolls around in January. They will be without Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey for around a month.

As such, Arsenal have been advised to re-sign former star Wilshere on a short-term deal as midfield cover.

However, Arteta is dismissive of talk that Wilshere may re-sign for the Gunners.

“No (he won’t join us),” Arteta said. “But I think it is a great compliment for Jack that the players playing alongside him think so highly of him. He is doing really well, better and better, and we know the qualities Jack has.”

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