Arsenal have verified the arrival of Flamengo centre-back Pablo Mari on a loan deal with an option to buy, in the club’s first signing of the January transfer window.
The 26-year-old has only spent six months in Brazil, after leaving his former side Manchester City, going on to have a major part in Flamengo success in the Brasileirão and Copa Libertadores.
Despite only just moving to Flamengo last year, Mari has now completed his return to Europe to become Arsenal’s first signing on the winter transfer window and the first under manager Mikel Arteta.
Although not much is known about the centre-back for those in north London, fans have been expecting Mari’s arrival ever since technical director Edu Gaspar was pictured with the defender at São Paulo’s Galeão airport.
The 26-year-old, who has already been on the books at seven different clubs in his career, arrived in London on Saturday where Mari went to complete his medical at London Colney, as well as pose for Arsenal’s official announcement.
Technical director Edu told the club website: “Pablo is an experienced player who will provide us with additional defensive quality. 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 Mikel and his coaching team, we are all looking forward to seeing Pablo in an Arsenal shirt.” As well as somewhat knowing Arteta already following their time together at Manchester City – although Mari spent most of his time out on loan – the Spaniard’s agent is also close with Arsenal’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi.
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Mari’s career has only been at a high level since moving to Flamengo, although he still racked up 176 appearances across all competitions in senior football before leaving Manchester City on a permanent basis in 2019.