Despite being signed before the transfer window closed last month, Arsenal defender Pablo Mari was not involved in the squad for the 0-0 draw against Burnley.
The main reason behind the Spaniard’s absence was due to the fact he had not played a competitive game since Flamengo faced Liverpool in the Club World Cup final six weeks previously.
However, during the Gunners’ training camp in Dubai, head coach Mikel Arteta was asked whether Mari could feature in their game against Newcastle next Sunday, and he was sounding confident that the centre-back will be included in the squad:
“With Pablo maybe a little bit more [likely] than Cedric [Soares], but we have to go step by step. He is a new player and I am sure he is very excited and wants to prove everything in three days, so we have to manage him wisely.”
Whether he will get a spot in the starting eleven, it is up for the debate, considering his lack of match fitness. It is more likely that he’ll get a place on the bench, but with matches coming thick and fast after the winter break, Arteta may feel the clash versus the Magpies could be the best time to bed him in.