The Spanish centre back sat down with Arsenal Media after signing for the club, below is the interview.
Pablo, welcome to Arsenal. How does it feel to be an Arsenal player? I’m happy to be here today and to have signed for a big club. I’m going to do my best to help my team-mates and the club.
When you first found out that Arsenal wanted to sign you, what was your reaction like? I was pleased. When I spoke to my agent, it was a big thing that Arsenal were interested in me. This is one of the best clubs in the world, so I’m absolutely delighted to be joining. I’m really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team. This transfer seemed to happen very quickly – can you tell us what the process was like for you after that first conversation?
The conversations started a couple of weeks ago. Arsenal told us that they were interested. We’d just won everything with Flamengo – I won the league and the Copa Libertadores and was also named best centre-back in America, so that will have helped Arsenal notice me. As I’ve said, I’m really happy. It’s a great achievement for me to come to Arsenal and it all happened in basically two weeks. There were pictures of you at the airport in Brazil, the fans were following your flight, there was a journalist at the airport here in London… what’s your reaction to all of that?
I’m kind of used to that from Brazil, where the fans are really passionate about Flamengo. I’m used to a lot of media interest so I know what to expect when joining a big club like this one. It’s a normal thing for me now.
You’re returning to England again with this move, so how big an opportunity is this for you?
It’s a massive opportunity for me to come to England, which is the best league in the world right now. Being able to play in this league and having the opportunity to play for Arsenal is incredible, so I’m really looking forward to wearing the shirt as soon as possible. I want to help my team to win matches and give my fans something to celebrate.
What can the Arsenal fans can expect from you in terms of you as a professional and your playing style?
I’m a very professional player. I like working hard every day to achieve objectives. One thing I can control is working hard on a daily basis to help my team-mates to win football matches and repay the faith that Mikel and Arsenal have shown me by signing me to play here, so that’s my main objective. I want to take it one day at a time and achieve big things at Arsenal.
What are your expectations in terms of playing in the Premier League and how much of a step up do you think it will be?
Right now I want to focus on the day-to-day side of things. I think we need to put the plans to one side for now because the most important thing is to take things one day at a time and focus on achieving short-term goals. We need to change the dynamic around the team, so the short-term objectives are the most important thing. As I’ve said, we have Mikel’s ideas, aligned with the club, and we need to perform very well to change things. You recently played against Liverpool in the Club World Cup final and received a lot of praise for the way you handled Sadio Mane and Mo Salah. What was it like for you?
It was a great experience. It was really exciting to play against a big club and I think I performed really well. At the end of the day, they’re just people like everyone else. Obviously they’re in great form at the moment and they’re among the best players in the world, but we also have a fantastic team with top players. This is football and that’s the way you have to look at it. You have to compete against every side, whether it’s Liverpool or any other club in the world. I have a lot of faith in this great club, Arsenal, and I know we’re going to do very well.