Pablo Mari may have been moved out of Arsenal by Mikel Arteta in January, going on loan to Udinese, but the Spanish defender considers his fellow countryman to be “one of the best coaches in the world”.
Some shrewd recruitment and a long-term vision from Arteta has allowed a top-four challenge from the Gunners in the Premier League this season.
Mari is playing no part in that, but he believes those he has left behind in England will continue to improve.
What has been said?
Mari, who joined Arsenal from Flamengo in January 2020, told ESPN: “I have to say he is one of the best coaches in the world because when he does the game plan, I never see it like this.
“How he finds solutions for us and makes it easy to play the game: I've never seen something like this. That means he is an amazing coach.
"To give you the tools to play a game more easily, that's amazing because when you go to the pitch, you already have in your head the type of thing you have to do to play easy.”
Mari added: “He gave me the tool that if I can take three or four seconds before the ball arrives to me, I am going to have this three or four seconds to think for the next action.
“For me, this was the key because I have time [now]. He was the only coach to give me that tool and make football more easy.
“I play more easy and I can see another type of option that before I never saw because before, I never had time with the ball. So now at the moment, I put in my head another level because of [Arteta]."
What does the future hold?
Mari had made just three appearances for Arsenal in the 2021-22 campaign, with big-money deals for Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White nudging him down the pecking order.
There is, however, no purchase option in his loan at Udinese and he is tied to a contract at Arsenal to 2024.
The 28-year-old said when asked if he could still have a future at Arsenal: “For me, of course it is possible.
“I never close that door. It continues to be my dream, playing for a big club in the world and for Arsenal of course. I played there for two years, I have two more years [on my] contract.
“Of course, it would be my dream, but at the end, I don't know. I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, I cannot predict what is going to happen next year.
“Would I like to be there? Yes of course, but I don't know what is going to happen. I want to be focused on now, in the present, what I can do now to enjoy again to play football and to feel again that I am a professional football player.”