Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has a lot to think about ahead of his side’s clash against Crystal Palace on Thursday.
Pablo Mari and Rob Holding have formed an incredible partnership at the back in our last three Premier League wins. In an ideal world, there is no need for change at the back.
However, Arteta will likely have Gabriel Magalhaes back for the game on Thursday. The Brazilian has arguably been our best player this season. He won our player of the month award three times in a row, and if he is fit, it would be unfair to leave him out.
Arteta clearly has a selection headache now. He prefers only one left-footed player in central defence when we play a four-man backline. That rules out the possibility of a Mari-Gabriel Partnership on Thursday.
It will be interesting to see what Arteta decides. Sticking with Mari is the logical option considering his form, but if a latest report is to be believed, the defender will cost us a six-figure sum if he plays against Palace.
Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte claim that Arsenal have to pay Flamengo a little under £894,000 (€1 million) every time Mari plays 10 games. That will carry on until he plays 80 games for us as the maximum limit set in his contract is €8 million.
Should Arteta start Mari against Palace?
The £894,000 clause should have no impact on Arteta’s decision on Thursday. Mari has over three years left on his contract and he will likely play over 80 games for us.
That means we will have to pay Flamengo the €8 million anyway which makes dropping him on Thursday meaningless.
Arteta should stick to what has been working over the last few weeks. Mari and Holding have been brilliant, and as good as Gabriel has been for us, he will have to settle for a spot on the bench for a while.