Arsenal fans are set to be disappointed again as the deal for Flamengo defender Pablo Mari is in serious doubt over claim that the Gunners have changed the terms of agreement. Mari arrived in London on Saturday for his medical after Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar had agreed to a deal with Flamengo to sign him on loan with a view to a £7.5m transfer.
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.
However, according to a Flamengo director, Mari has left England and has returned to Brazil after a late hitch in the deal. He accused Arsenal of changing the terms of the deal after the Brazilain club had agreed to sell him for a fee. The club director added that negotiations are still ongoing between the two clubs.
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.
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.
The 23-year-old only has 18 months left on his contract in Ukraine and manager Mikel Arteta has seen Matviyenko up close already, after facing Shakhtar in the Champions League while he was assistant manager at Manchester City.