Mikel Arteta explains ‘great opportunity’ for Arsenal signing Pablo Mari in Dubai

Pablo Mari has been training with Arsenal at their warm-weather training camp in Dubai
Pablo Mari has been training with Arsenal at their warm-weather training camp in Dubai (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s warm-weather camp in Dubai will provide a ‘great opportunity’ for Pablo Mari to bond with his new team-mates both on and off the training field.

Arsenal agreed a loan deal with Flamengo for Mari, 26, towards the end of the January transfer window, with Arteta desperate for defensive reinforcements following Calum Chambers’ season-ending knee injury.

Mari will hope to be in contention to make his debut when the Gunners play host to Newcastle after the winter break and the Spaniard took part in training for the first time earlier this week.

Arsenal’s players flew out to Dubai on Friday and are scheduled to return to north London on February 11.

Speaking from Arsenal’s camp, head coach Arteta said: ‘They needed three four days off to relax their minds and recover their bodies.

‘They’ve been through a lot in the last few months and now I think they are ready to have five or six really good training sessions here before we go back to London and focus and prepare as well as we can against Newcastle.

‘This is what I want to create. The new players that we have, it is a great opportunity for them to spend time together with the other players, get to know each other, live together – the same for me with the backroom staff as well. I think it’s going to be a very important break.

‘We suggested Dubai because we have a close relationship with our sponsor, but also because it’s a place where the weather conditions are really good and the players like to come here.

Mari completed a loan switch to the Emirates this January
Mari completed a loan switch to the Emirates this January (Picture: Getty)

‘We knew most of them were going to come here and relax with their families and be ready for training.

‘Hours together, to spend together, grab a coffee together, to have conversations, to have unit meetings, individual meetings, group meetings about the things we have to achieve and to review what we’ve done.

‘I’ve made a big review of what we’ve done so far in these five or six weeks, the things we can improve, the things that we have improved a lot and that we have to maintain, that we cannot lose now.

‘Hopefully we can make another step forward as a team.’

Mari will hope to hit the ground running at Arsenal
Mari will hope to hit the ground running at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Mari hopes to give fans something to cheer about again by emulating the success some of his fellow countrymen have had success at Arsenal in recent years.

‘There have been some wonderful Spanish players to play for Arsenal,’ he told Arsenal’s official website earlier this week.

‘[Cesc] Fabregas, [Santi] Cazorla, [Jose Antonio] Reyes… they’re all great Spanish players that have passed through this club.

‘One of those legends that we have with us now is Mikel. He was a very important player for Arsenal and now this is a new project for him as coach, but I think he’s going to repeat what he achieved when he was a player.

‘Personally I look up to him and the career he had at Arsenal. That’s what I’ve been working for all these years.

‘I’d love to be at Arsenal for a long time and I hope to give the Gunners some victories to celebrate again.’

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