Mari

Flamengo Defender Pablo Mari Set For Medical Ahead Of Loan Move To Arsenal

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In order to boost their defensive options, Arsenal are set to sign Flamengo centre-back Pablo Mari on loan with an option to buy at the end of the deal. The Spanish defender has been tipped to undergo a medical with Arsenal on Saturday, after being pictured at São Paulo’s Galeão airport with the Premier League club’s technical director, Edu Gaspar.

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.

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Now Arsenal have gotten a solution their defensive woes with Flamengo’s Mari seen landing in London from São Paulo alongside Edu. According to reports, Flamengo have already given the transfer the all-clear, with the Brazilian giants expected to recoup well over twice what they paid for Mari just six months ago.

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.

It is reported that he’s already had his head turned by the prospect of returning to England. The 26-year-old’s family also want to return to Europe, which has helped push the transfer over the line. Mari has made an instant impact in Brazil, winning the Brasilian Serie A and the Copa Libertadores by the end of 2019.

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The Gunners are also exploring the possibility of a loan deal for Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko, with Arsenal 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.

A £30m outright fee is something that ​Arsenal would not be able to afford this window, but the move in question makes for a far more plausible option to the cash-strapped north London outfit.

If Shakhtar agree to Arsenal’s terms, then the deal would amount to just £3.5m shy of the Ukrainian side’s asking price, and make Matviyenko the second most expensive Ukrainian ever – after Andriy Shevchenko.

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