After a successful negotiation and agreement on Tuesday, Arsenal have agreed to sign Flamengo defender Pablo Mari on loan for an improved fee of around £4million with a view to a permanent £7.5million deal.
FutballNews reports that the 26-year-old Spaniard had flown to London last Saturday with Arsenal’s technical director Edu Gaspar to have his medical. He will, however, return to London on Wednesday to put pen to paper after Flamengo had given him permission to travel back.
The former Manchester City defender was forced to return to Rio de Janeiro on Monday for the start of pre-season training but failed to report as he pushed to revive his dream move after a Flamengo director alleged that Arsenal have changed the terms of agreement between the two clubs.
According to Brazilian outlet Globoesporte, Arsenal have agreed to pay a €5m (£4.2m) loan fee to take Mari until the end of the season. The deal also includes an option to buy.
The Spanish 26-year-old was a vital part of Flamengo’s double-winning season in 2019, helping the Brazilian side to the league title and Copa Libertadores triumph. He was also part of the squad that lost 1-0 to Liverpool after-extra-time in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.
Mari spent three years on the books with Manchester City between 2016 and 2019 while Arteta was Pep Guardiola’s assistant. The defender did spend all three seasons out on loan at Girona, NAC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna and did not make a first-team appearance for City before joining Flamengo last summer.
New Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is desperate to add some steel to his defence after some defensive errors at the back which has cost the team some points this season. Calum Chambers’ long-term injury and David Luiz’s three matches suspension following his red card against Chelsea on Tuesday night has fast-tracked the club’s search for a new defender.
Also, the stuttering form of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis – along with Rob Holding returning from a serious injury – has exacerbated the situation, prompting a need to act quickly with just one week left of the window. Meanwhile, it is reported that Mari is already had his head turned by the prospect of returning to England. The 26-year-old’s family also wants to return to Europe, which has helped push the transfer over the line.
Arsenal are also exploring the possibility of a loan deal for Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko, with the club wanting to avoid paying a £30m transfer fee outright this month.