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Arsenal fans spot what Mikel Arteta has done vs Crystal Palace amid talk of £900k bonus payment

Some Arsenal fans have a theory regarding Pablo Mari’s absence against Crystal Palace.

The central defender was a surprise inclusion in the Gunners XI against Chelsea on Boxing Day last month, but kept his place for the next three games after the 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.

And Arsenal kept three successive clean sheets with Mari at the heart of defence – twice alongside Rob Holding and as David Luiz’s partner for the FA Cup third-round win over Newcastle United last weekend.

Even with Gabriel Magalhaes available again following a spell out of the side with Covid-19 related issues, there were some predicting Mari would keep his place for the visit of Palace.

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However, the Spaniard has not only been left out of the starting XI, he’s not made the matchday squad.

Officially, the reason for Mari’s absence – as explained by Arsenal in a social media post – is as a precaution, due to tightness in his calf.

Although not all Gunners supporters are buying that explanation.

In the build-up to the game against Palace, Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte had reported that Arsenal have to pay Flamengo a bonus of around £900,000 every time Mari makes 10 appearances, up to a maximum of 80 outings.

football.london spoke to someone close to Mari who confirmed that “there are some performance bonuses” included in the transfer fee.

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As expected, with Mari missing out against Palace, some fans believe it was done in order to save almost £1m.

Take a look at what’s been said on Twitter…

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