Arsenal defender David Luiz has said he’s ready to change his preferred role in central defence in order to accommodate new signing Pablo Mari.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 8, 2020
The Gunners completed a late move in the January transfer window to sign Mari on loan from Brazilian outfit Flamengo for the remainder of the season.
David Luiz, aged 32, has played as the left-sided centre-back in Arsenal’s defence since he joined from Chelsea last summer, but he said he’s happy to tweak his role to benefit the team, per Goal’s Charles Watts.
“I always want to play. I always play in the way the coach wants to play.
“It doesn’t matter the side, it doesn’t matter which position. You guys know I played a lot of positions during my career. I’m always ready for that.
“It’s good when you have a squad with a lot of quality players. We have a game every week; you have to be happy with this.”
It’s expected that left-footed Mari—who could join Arsenal on permanent terms in the summer—will be installed on his preferred left side when he’s brought into Mikel Arteta’s lineup.
The 26-year-old could form a promising all-Brazilian partnership in defence with countryman Luiz. The pair are yet to play alongside one another at the Emirates Stadium but appear to already enjoy a good relationship, via Watts:
Mari won the 2019 Copa Libertadores and the Brazilian league title during his first six months at Flamengo, who are managed by Luiz’s old Benfica coach, Jorge Jesus.
Luiz opened up on the encouragement his old mentor gave him after Mari’s move to the Emirates was confirmed:
“He’s a great player. It was a pleasure for me seeing Pablo doing really well in Brazil. I hope he can help us.
“He did amazing under Jorge Jesus, a coach I know very well, he’s my friend and one of the top coaches in the world.
“I speak with Jorge every week, he’s really my friend. He told me to welcome him [Mari] in the best way because he is ready to play.”
The Gunners signed David Luiz and left-back Kieran Tierney from Chelsea and Celtic in the summer, while Saint-Etienne centre-back William Saliba will join in June.
Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League and face an important clash against Newcastle United on Sunday, with the two teams level on points approaching the end-of-season run-in.
Mari hasn’t played since Flamengo lost 1-0 after extra time to Liverpool in the final of the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in December, but he’s in contention to make his Arsenal debut against the Magpies.