Arsenal paid £16.7m to sign Takehiro Tomiyasu on a four-year deal from Bologna before the summer transfer window shut and expect big things from the 22-year-old. But one player who won’t be too enthralled to see Tomiyasu at the Emirates Stadium is Pablo Mari.
The 28-year-old endured a difficult debut season at Arsenal due to injury and inconsistency, leading to a lack of playing time. Nothing has changed this campaign either, with Mari being dropped after consecutive Premier League defeats.
He’s out of the starting eleven and now has new-boy Tomiyasu for competition, so playing time might become scarce. Mari joined the Gunners from Flamengo in the summer of 2020 and has gone on to make 21 appearances in all competitions, conceding 20 goals and keeping nine clean sheets.
Arsenal have shipped four goals from their first two Premier League games and Mari has since been taken out of the spotlight. The Gunners then lost 5-0 to Manchester City, so their problems run deeper than the Spaniard. But Tomiyasu’s arrival does appear to be connected.
Mari is a left-footed central defender, but Tomiyasu has some ambidexterity and played a handful of games at left-back for Bologna, so he’ll be able to replace the former. That could mean Mari spends a lot of the season on the bench or out of the matchday squad entirely as Mikel Arteta isn’t short on centre-backs.
In addition to Tomiyasu and Mari, Arsenal have Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding at their disposal, so there’s stiff competition for places. The North London outfit host Norwich City on September 11 after the international break and are favourites to finally get off the mark.
The two-week break gives Tomiyasu time to train and gel with teammates, so might he get the nod?
Mari has underperformed and now has a new player coming in that can take his place, so he might be sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Time will tell, but he’s hardly staked his claim to keep his spot after Arsenal’s woeful start to the season.