Pablo Mari has opened up on his rollercoaster and frustrating start to his Arsenal career.
The 26 year-old joined the Gunners on an initial loan from Flamengo in January. However, he’s made just two appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side – his debut for Arsenal in their FA Cup win over Portsmouth on March 2, before a first Premier League start in the victory over West Ham five days later.
The game against Manchester City on 11 March was postponed after the Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, tested positive for Covid-19 and Arsenal’s players went into isolation.
The next day Mikel Arteta tested positive, too. Mari admits his fear of what would follow.
On a Zoom call he told The Guardian:“At first, part of you thinks: ‘Jeez,’ I finally got here, then had to leave again after two days to finish negotiating the contract, came back, it was hard to get going, I hadn’t done pre-season while everyone had been competing seven months.
“Bit by bit you get through the days, the weeks, and the moment you say ‘I’m ready, I can compete’, this happens …”
On Arsenal players being quarantined after Mikel Arteta tested positive for Covid-19, he added: “We’ll never know if [Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis] was the reason, if the manager caught it somewhere else, but from that moment we were in quarantine. At first we were very scared: hoping he would be OK, that nothing would happen to him or affect his family.
“Things calmed: I think none of the team had the virus. We didn’t do tests; we did 15 days at home, and no one had [symptoms].”
Mari could yet sign for the Gunners on a permanent basis, with rumours of a £10m deal.