At the age of 24, Pablo Marí would be a relative youngster in most leagues but in Holland’s Eredivisie and particularly a youthful NAC Breda team, he is something of a veteran.
One of six players loaned to the Dutch club this summer, Marí was quickly given the captain’s armband and has assumed a leadership role in the City Football Group-affiliated side, which has even led to links with a move to another Premier League club.
The former Mallorca and Gimnàstic player, who joined Manchester City in 2016, has spoken to Spanish newspaper AS about a number of topics, including his future at City.
Though owned by City, Pablo has already played for two other CFG clubs on temporary deals – Girona FC and his current loan club NAC Breda – and it was suggested to him that it might be hard for City to care much for all these loanees.
“No, not at all,” Mari responded. “I’m delighted to belong to City, every two weeks people come to see us… for a few months now we [City loanees] have been working with Joleon Lescott and he is a wonderful person.
“Lescott helps us in every way he can, and teaches us with videos about how we can improve.
“The deal with Manchester City is very good. And I know other players in Holland that they also have in mind.”
Elaborating on the topic, Mari was asked if he feels that players belonging to a large entity like the City Football Group might feel like a trading card, moving through clubs with which Manchester City have agreements.
“With Manchester, that does not happen,” the Spanish defender said. “They are interested in the clubs with which they have an agreement in order to help everyone, they want you to grow as a footballer.
“In the end, they are looking to find good options for everyone, themselves included, but first of all, for me. If you find a club with which they have no agreements and they consider it good for you, they have no problem with letting you go where you want.
“They are not a group that tell you: ‘This is what you have, take it or leave it.'”
Many players in the CFG loan pack can only dream of playing for Pep Guardiola’s Man City first team. But as Oleksandr Zinchenko has proven this season, anything is possible if Pep sees the right level of talent. Does Mari believe he will play for City’s first team?
“Obviously, what any of us want is that next year they call us up, that we can go and train with them and stay. It is what anyone in the world would want.
“For now, the most important thing is to finish the season well.”
Mari is out of contract in 2019, so City may look to either extend his deal or sell him in the summer. When asked where he sees himself next season, the centre-half wasn’t sure.
“I have no idea, I have not talked about any of this with City or my agent. I told them to leave me until we avoid relegation, I think both the club and fans deserve that. In summer there will be time to talk about it.”
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