Pabo Mari to Arsenal
Arsenal look to be closing in on their first signing of the Mikel Arteta era.
The Gunners’ defence is arguably the area which they need to improve the most.
Calum Chambers will reportedly be on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.
And whilst the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi have plenty of experience in Europe’s top leagues, they aren’t exactly the most dependable central-defenders in the world.
But, it appears as though the Gunners will be strengthening their centre-back spot this month.
According to the Evening Standard, Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Flamengo defender Pablo Mari.
Mari has been on Flamengo’s books since July of 2019.
The Spaniard made the switch to Brazil from Manchester City for a fee believed to be around £1.5m.
Mari spent three years on Man City’s books, but never actually made an appearance for them.
Whilst with City, the 26-year-old enjoyed several loan spells with the likes of Girona and NAC Breda.
Mari’s last loan spell saw him earn 38 appearances for Spanish outfit Deportivo de La Coruna.
Now, though, Mari looks set for a return to England, with the Standard claiming that the defender was due to arrive in London on Saturday lunchtime ahead of a move to Arsenal.
The report from the ES also claims that the Gunners’ deal for Mari will initially be a loan, with a view to making it permanent.
Mari arrives in England
A video has since emerged on Saturday of Goal’s Charles Watts asking the Flamengo defender in Heathrow Airport if he is excited to sign for Arsenal, to which Mari responded:
“Ye, of course”
Pablo Mari has just arrived at Heathrow with Edu and he tell me he is excited to be joining Arsenal.
Medical to take place this weekend. pic.twitter.com/6VY1RM3wJL
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 25, 2020
Bournemouth vs Arsenal
Arsenal’s next outing sees them take on Bournemouth in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Monday.
The previously-linked report from the Standard didn’t state if Mari would be available for the clash with the Cherries.
So, with David Luiz in the midst of serving a three-match ban, and Calum Chambers sidelined, you would assume that Mikel Arteta will deploy Mustafi and Sokratis at the heart of Arsenal’s defence vs Bournemouth.
Sokratis has missed Arsenal’s last two league outings, but the Gunners would confirm on Friday that the no-nonsense central-defender is back in full training:
We’ve got positive news on Sokratis!
🗞 Read our latest team news update
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 24, 2020