Arsenal new boss Mikel Arteta is close to finalising the signing of Flamengo defender Pablo Mari his first signing since arriving the Emirates Stadium
The 6ft 3ins centre back, who was formerly on Manchester City’s books, flew to London on Saturday with Arsenal technical director Edu for his medical after a £7.5million deal was put in place on Friday.
The 26-year old had a series of loans while at City with Girona, NAC Breda and Alaves.
Mari signed for Flamengo last year for just £1m, having failed to make a single appearance for City during his three years at the club.
He impressed and had interest from other English clubs but was given the chance to move to Flamengo where he went on to win the Brazilian League and Copa Libertadores.
The Spaniard played against Liverpool in the World Club Championships and is now poised to link up with former City coach Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.
Arteta joined City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant the same year as Mari joined the club and would have seen the player up close during their time together.
The Arsenal boss is desperate to bolster his defence this month with an injury crisis depleting his options and will be delighted the deal for Mari is almost over the line.
Calum Chambers, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac are all currently out injured, and Arteta is still hopeful of bringing in a full-back despite Bukayo Saka impressing as an emergency left-back.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Layvin Kurzawa was an option but the Frenchman now appears set to join Juventus with Mattia De Sciglio going in the other direction.