Arsenal have signed Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.
The deal was confirmed via the club’s official Twitter account on Wednesday. Arsenal will reportedly pay a $5 million (£4 million) loan fee, with a $10 million (£8 million) option to buy in the summer, according to Sky Sports.
David Ornstein of The Athletic first noted the option to buy. The club are also said to be considering another possible loan signing before the January transfer window closes.
“Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality,” Arsenal technical director Edu said in the club release. “We have been monitoring Pablo’s career for a while, and we are very pleased to have reached agreement with Flamengo for him to join us initially until the end of our season. Together with [head coach] Mikel [Arteta] and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.”
Mari’s acquisition will give the Gunners some crucial depth in defence, which is an area they’ve struggled in for much of the campaign.
Calum Chambers is out for the season with an ACL injury, while the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi have struggled to show any sort of consistency in a challenging campaign. Rob Holding has also been struggling to regain fitness following his own ACL injury last season
Arteta will be hoping that Mari can bring some consistency to the base of the team, having made major improvements during his time with Flamengo.
The defender was on Manchester City’s books during Arteta’s spell at the club as assistant manager, although he never played a senior game under Pep Guardiola in three years. After a series of loans, Mari made a move to Brazil in 2019 and has kicked on.
He played an important role in Flamengo winning the domestic title and the Copa Libertadores, offering authority and composure from his berth in central defence.
While he’s shone for the Brazilian outfit, the Premier League will provide Mari with a different challenge, with the tempo of the game quicker and the forwards he will come up against more physical. With that in mind, it makes sense for Arsenal to take a look at him on loan before deciding on whether to make the signing permanent